Letters from the Rector, Book 1

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This first of four volumes in the Letters from the Rector series includes then Father Williamson’s letters numbering 1 through 62, which he penned between May 24, 1983, and June 1, 1988, while leading the seminary in Ridgefield, CT. The letters cover the events of early 1983, well known in some traditional Catholic circles, to the period just prior to the 1988 Episcopal consecrations by Archbishop Lefebvre. Includes a detailed index to the volume’s contents. Richard N. Williamson (b. 1940) converted to Catholicism in 1971, was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1976 for the latter’s Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX), and was consecrated a bishop by the Archbishop for the same fraternity in 1988. From 1976 to 2012 he served the FSSPX in various capacities, most notably as rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield, Conn. (1983–1988) and later in Winona, Minn. (1988–2003). After a brief stint as rector of the FSSPX seminary at La Reja, Argentina (2003–2009), he was posted to England for an extended “sabbatical,” following his incendiary and widely circulated public remarks regarding the “holocaust.” The remarks, coupled with three decades’ worth of controversial opinions, as well as his disagreement with the Society’s recent compromise and direction, led to his (canonically irregular) removal from the FSSPX in late 2012, since which time he has, in order to remain true to his priestly and Episcopal duties, operated as an independent bishop providing sacramental and doctrinal nourishment to a widely diverse group of Catholic faithful around the world. He is widely known, and both loved and hated (as the case may be) for his controversial and “radical” (i.e., going to the “root” of the issue) opinions on matters both secular and religious, from 9-11 to World War II to modern film to suburban living to feminine dress to Masonic America and more. The bulk and essence of his opinions are captured in the letters “to friends and benefactors” ‒ including those featured in this volume ‒ that he wrote during his two decades of service at the helm of the Ridgefield and Winona seminaries, and which were succeeded in 2007 by his still-running weekly commentary entitled “Eleison Comments,” currently curated by the St. Marcel Initiative with the collaboration of the Bishop’s long-time friend, confidant, and now biographer, Dr. David Allen White.

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