Some readers of the Sodalitium Pianum blog who may be familiar with Mr. Hugh Akins’ book “Synagogue Rising,” may not be familiar with his role in Catholic Action in the United States (or even have a precise understanding of what, exactly, Catholic Action consists). In order to remedy that situation, and increase awareness about the need for Catholic Action, Sodalitium Pianum requested an opportunity to interview Mr. Akins in this regard, and that which follows are his responses to several questions we asked on the subject.
July 18, 2017
SJ: I have seen pictures of you online from your tour in the Vietnam War which led me to believe you were a pretty young man at the time of the Second Vatican Council. Can you recall for our readers your first impressions of the so-called “reforms” as they began to be implemented at that time?
I was 21 when discharged from the Army in 1969, but my awakening to the revolution began a year earlier. I sometimes find it hard to believe the rapid succession of events through which God led me to Catholic Tradition. It all seemed to happen rather fast. Most other Vietnam returnees longed to go home and put the war behind them. I had no such desire. I had come face-to-face with an unspeakable evil (communism) and returned with the strongest desire and need, not to put it behind me, but to do something concrete to combat it.
Recovering from wounds in a military hospital in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968, I had the good fortune to become friends with a threesome of men in military intelligence who advised me, in retrospect Providentially, to make contact with several well-known “anti-communists” on the world scene, among whom were 3 leading traditional Catholics – Hamish Fraser, Yves Dupont and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. I corresponded with these 3 for the next few years, during which they helped forge in my mind something of a magisterial worldview. A few years later, I had the distinct honor of meeting in person Abp. Lefebvre during one of his earliest American visits, at which time we discussed, through an interpreter and among other things, how I might best take up the cause of Christ the King and Our Lady of Fatima on this side of the Atlantic. From the early 1970s onward, this great churchman was very supportive of the various initiatives I had undertaken with this objective in mind, and once he founded the SSPX, I in turn wholeheartedly supported this priestly fraternity, which in time became the most important single order in the Catholic restoration… Until 2012!
SJ: So you knew Archbishop Lefebvre even before there was an SSPX? Somehow, I had the impression that after he retired as Superior General from the Holy Ghost Fathers, he slipped into retirement until approached by a half-dozen seminarians. But according to your answer, he seems to have still been active in some respects, at least as regards Catholic Action?
Yes, as far as I knew he did somewhat “retire” between the Holy Ghost Fathers and the seminarians that sought his spiritual direction. I was put in touch with him because of his reputation at the Council, known far beyond Catholic circles to anti-communists of all stripes, having stood against all odds with only a handful of others for the Church’s traditional position on communism. I was told he was one of the most courageous bishops in the Church – by a non-Catholic. I have no knowledge of how active he was during his brief “retirement.” I suspect his “activity” consisted of readily giving advice to anyone, like me, that sought his counsel on various questions/concerns in his area of competence. I cannot recall a single time when he did not answer my letters promptly, kindly and completely.
SJ: So in these early years you were very focused on anti-communist activity. Had you as yet seen the broader battle for Christ the King to include opposing His enemies not only in politics and economics, but also the combat against His enemies within the Church (e.g., Those highly placed Churchmen who seemed to be seeking a rapprochement with Judaism), or was there some “revelation” that later opened your eyes to the broader parameters of the fight for Christ the King?
Thanks to such excellent “teachers,” as it were, I was introduced to the struggle for Christ the King and Our Lady of Fatima from the beginning. The battle for the Traditional Mass was vital, but not the whole combat for the Faith. The Scotsman Hamish Fraser had a good grasp of this fight, and was quite favorable to Catholic Action being a convert from communism who fully realized the importance of organization, structure, discipline and concerted action under the directives of the traditional clergy. The Frenchman Yves Dupont directed me to the writings of Father Fahey, further opening my mind to the broader picture and to the menace of Judeo-Masonry behind communism. My friendship with Dupont was also of immense benefit in that he was one of the first journalists in the English-speaking world to publish much of what went wrong at Vatican II. His commentary on St. Pius X’s Apostolic Mandate was a real eye-opener to me, as I had previously bought into the heresy of Americanism, the product of a liberal education. He was also a good friend of the archbishop and published some interviews of His Grace in the pages of his journal, World Trends, sent out from Australia, and which I distributed in the US. One of the best of these interviews/articles was titled “Protestantism Inside the Church,” (which I am considering re-publishing in a future issue of Oportet Christum Regnare). And it was Abp. Lefebvre who encouraged the study of a select number of papal encyclicals, which put everything in the best perspective possible, and which documents from Eternal Rome I could not get enough of. It was by far the best education a young man could receive, especially if he intended to contribute to the rebuilding of the Church devastated by treason at her highest levels (per the Fatima Third Secret).
Every step of the way in this soldierly formation was in a real sense both a “revelation” and an “inspiration.” Each one of these 3 remarkable and zealous teachers – Fraser, Dupont and Lefebvre – repeatedly stressed the need for Catholics with the grace to “hold fast” to the Traditions to begin laying the groundwork for a resurgence of counterrevolutionary militancy. Extraordinary times necessitated extraordinary actions.
SJ: So, I am guessing that is how the League of Christ the King came about? Can you tell us a bit about how you got that endeavor off the ground?
From the 1970s we fast-forward almost three decades to 1996. The SSPX was by this time well established with 25+ years doing God’s work, building a powerful resistance to the Judeo-Masonic-Marxist-Modernist war on Catholicism, rebuilding the toppled bastions of the faith, ordaining priests, opening churches, publishing books and magazines (I once considered The Angelus magazine as the finest traditional Catholic periodical anywhere in the world, but no longer), providing the laity with doctrinal conferences and spiritual retreats; in short, sanctifying souls and giving glory to God.
The one thing missing – the only thing missing, really – was a well-organized and truly militant Lay Apostolate (the Holy Name Society was no such thing) to give optimum support to this new Priestly Order and to labor to reconstruct the City of God. Pope St. Pius X, our patron saint, said that training and mobilizing small bands of lay activists in every parish was the most important project in the work of restoring all things in Christ. He made it clear that vocations would follow. Seminaries would follow. Schools would follow. A Catholic Press would follow.
Having studied and “preached” Catholic Action as the new crusade aimed at restoring Our Lord’s Social Kingship along with Mary’s Queenship for many years, I soon found a truly wonderful ally in the very zealous new US District Superior, Fr. Peter Scott, who was in full agreement with me on the urgent need for such an auxiliary lay mission to bolster the priestly mission. The League of Christ the King was soon thereafter canonically erected. Shortly after its founding in January of 1997, Bp.s Fellay and de Mallerais would call down upon it the blessings of Almighty God, which were sent in abundance (despite the profound unworthiness of its founding president). By the end of its second year, the League had already sponsored well over 1,000 doctrinal conferences (at its regular weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meetings), had formed 28 active chapters in Society chapels from coast to coast, had circulated millions of pieces of literature proclaiming the Reign of Christ the King (including its popular quarterly magazine, Oportet Christum Regnare); over-all it had roused the interest of more than 10,000 men throughout the US and in some 7-8 foreign countries, many of whom became real soldiers of Christ fighting the spiritual combat on the social battlefield, as commissioned by the Magisterium.
It all came to an abrupt and tragic downturn when Fr. Scott stepped down as District Superior. We began to see almost immediately the first signs of the SSPX clergy giving way to liberalism’s path of least resistance. With Fr. Scott out of the picture as superior, the SSPX seemed to have lost much of its militancy. What can become of a Church Militant that shuns much of its militancy? This, as we know, culminated in the betrayal that surfaced in 2012 of what was to become the neo-SSPX. But God would not let the League remain on the sidelines for long. Providence once again intervened, this time through the priestly soul of Fr. Francois Chazal who urged its reactivation under the SSPX Resistance. A one-time parish chaplain of the League when he was stationed in the same New York SSPX parish that harbored the League’s national headquarters, Fr. Chazal now serves as our head chaplain, thanks be to God.
SJ: So, at what point did you say to yourself, “I think I now identify more with the Resistance, than with the neo-SSPX? What put you over the top?
We became painfully aware of the liberal bent of more than a few SSPX priests very early on – somewhere around 1998 or ’99. These were the clergy that appeared to have lost much of their early zeal and sense of mission, and in minimalist fashion became content with the status quo. There were numerous scandalous instances, in Society chapel after chapel, where such shepherds were actually responsible for extinguishing rather than igniting the zeal in some of their own men, strongly discouraging them from serving as laborers in the Lord’s vineyard (if such a thing can be imagined!). Common to many of these priests with whom the League president had considerable personal contact, they dutifully professed belief in the doctrine of Our Lord’s Social Kingship but wanted absolutely no part in the means (implementing the program) the Church mandated for actually making His Kingship a reality in our countries, which is what Catholic Action is all about. It was too much to ask of these seemingly unmotivated young men that they be priests on fire with apostolic zeal and the missionary spirit. Preferring an easier life and a false peace at the expense of holy truth, and at the expense of souls, they did not want to rock the boat, to cause any controversy in their Mass centers, to create any divisions – forgetting that to be a Catholic is to be a sign of contradiction in the face of the false thinking and wrongful worldview and “politics” of modern man, including the majority of traditional Catholics who had little understanding of the Church’s Social Doctrine and even less interest in serving on the front lines of the Catholic Counterrevolution. One SSPX superior, in commenting on the unpriestly timidity of these young clergy, even admitted to me that their seminary training was “less than adequate to the Apostolate.” The long-time US seminary rector Father/Bishop Williamson was doing an outstanding job teaching doctrine and laying down the principles of the revolution and counterrevolution to the Society’s future priests, but none of the SSPX superiors, it seemed (other than Fr. Peter Scott), were one mind with the Church on the great importance of the new crusade of Catholic Action. They must have missed those lectures at Econe and elsewhere where the Archbishop himself urged “recreating Christendom” by means of Catholic Action, canonized by the Church. They must have never studied any of those hundreds of papal documents issued by Eternal Rome on the indispensable part Catholic Action was ordained to play in combating the modern errors, the errors of Russia, and the whole program of Satan and Antichrist. Such SSPX priests lost their fighting spirit long before 2012.
History may well record that this oversight or dereliction of duty was one of the most serious failures of the whole Traditional Catholic Movement, keeping it from becoming a much more powerful force for good, via Catholic Action as the pre-Vatican II Popes envisioned, for the purpose of countering the unprecedented crisis they saw coming. Another example of this early SSPX liberalism consistent with its unCatholic attitude towards Catholic Action and the League, was that, again long before the eventful year 2012, we saw the Society begin de-emphasizing and even discontinuing the selling of Father Fahey’s books. It was one compromise after another, a gradual process consisting of the undoing of the Church Militant and the SSPX, so that, by the time of the more brazen betrayal of the Society’s leadership in 2012, the Society as a whole was ripe for treason, and one had to be exceedingly distracted, or blind, not to detect Menzingen’s radical change in thinking and direction which were made manifest through the secret GREC negotiations, the appalling treatment of Bishop Williamson even before his shocking expulsion, the Society’s subsequent collective silence over the Conciliar Church’s continued apostasy, the neo-SSPX’s Judaization, and every gesture made towards reversing the Archbishop’s position on never joining heretical Rome without a fundamental conversion on Rome’s part.
The League of Christ the King, therefore – even in its partially (never fully) dormant state – wholeheartedly supported Bishop Williamson and the Resistance fathers from the beginning, even if it took a year for the League president to issue a public statement, sent out to 1,000 friends and supporters and which was posted on several allied websites and online forums, declaring (1) the organization’s reactivation under the SSPX Resistance, and (2) the reasons for severing ties with Bishop Fellay’s X-SSPX.
The letter can be read here: http://ca-rc.com/articles/on-league-of-christ-the-king/the-league-of-christ-king-reactivated-under-the-sspx-resistance. It should be read in conjunction with a second letter explaining why we were likewise compelled to cut ties with the Marian Corps based in Boston, Kentucky, and with Greg Taylor’s Recusant. Go here: http://ca-rc.com/articles/on-league-of-christ-the-king/league-of-christ-the-king-severes-official-ties-with-sspx-mc.
SJ: How would you assess Catholic Action as it exists in the Resistance today (at least, in the American Resistance)?
My first thought is to say it’s been disappointing. It has not been entirely true to its divine summoning nor its human potential. I’ve always had the greatest hope and expectation in the knowledge of what Catholic Action had accomplished not only in Catholic countries before the devastating rupture of the Second Vatican Council, and also how it served with distinction back then as the avante garde and a major fortifying factor in the Universal Church, but too in those tremendously fruitful early years of the League of Christ the King under a Society of St. Pius X that today no longer exists as its saintly founder envisioned. That wonderful priestly fraternity he had established in the last decades of his remarkable life, was now, as an institution, a thing of the past (except to the extent the Resistance is keeping the same mindset and mission going, along with a very small number of doctrinal integralists yet inside the neo-SSPX structure). Something quite different has since replaced it, even if it continues deceptively hiding behind the veneer of the SSPX name.
Upon further reflection, however, I’d have to say that what little Catholic Action is being done today, in the Resistance in the US, is nonetheless impressive, if not so much in the abundance of its fruits, certainly both in its heroic efforts and the quality of the work produced. I don’t mean to embarrass you, Sean, but the noble and tireless labors you’ve undertaken, along with Samuel Loeman, Matthew of CathInfo.com, Thomas Lang of Wisconsin, and a few other steadfast troopers on the battlefront, are some examples worth mentioning. But such endeavors, important though they be, do not qualify as Catholic Action in the real sense of the word, rather they constitute the actions of Catholics doing the best they can without a Catholic Action organization to vastly escalate and multiply the good being done.
For a real understanding of Catholic Action it’s necessary to see it in this twofold context, as it were. St. Pius X brought this to our attention in his encyclical on Catholic Action, Il Fermo Proposito. As suggested, there is on the one hand organized Catholic Action – highlighted in caps to emphasize its formal character as a structured, disciplined, concerted undertaking, which is what Holy Church most strongly encourages; and on the other hand the non-structured individualized action of Catholics, which our faith obliges, and furnished with a small “a” for obvious reasons. The former is the more efficient and effective, by far, whereas the latter, while important as noted, can do little more than yield a minimal harvest, as we’re seeing. It consists of Catholics being Catholic in doing good works but without the enormous benefits of organization, complete with (1) an Episcopal hierarchy gracing it with an apostolic legitimacy; (2) a well-trained clergy to oversee its doctrinal orthodoxy every step of the way; (3) devout, knowledgeable and trustworthy lay executives issuing the directives and carrying out the day-by-day internal functions and missionary projects according to Magisterial teachings, in both the local groups and on the front lines; (4) a disciplined spiritual and intellectual formation of the men and their lay cadre; (5) a set program of prayer, study and action; the spiritual, intellectual and social/apostolic/ counterrevolutionary aspects of the lay apostolate, (6) a working solidarity among member activists … all of which provide the whole enterprise with stability, leverage, a sense of mission, the means of delivering a powerful impact on the Church and in society, etc.
The old SSPX established the League of Christ the King as a formal organization of Catholic Action with these objectives in mind, and with the full force of Canon Law and in the spirit of Tradition and the Church Militant. And just to keep the record straight, let me add as a footnote that the League was never officially disbanded, and the League president was never dismissed or even asked to resign, and at no time in our history did we seek to be on our own independent of a priest chaplain. Notwithstanding the many lies and slanders that were spread from priest to priest and from faithful to faithful, the only time the League was without a chaplain to officially oversee our activities was when the two District Superior successors to Fr. Peter Scott steadfastly refused to assign one to us, which they did year after year, despite the president’s repeated requests for same. As we said earlier, there were many indications of liberalism inside the SSPX long before 2012.
Organized Catholic Action is the ideal because as the Church explains it, it constitutes a real army fighting as one. Soldiers are meant to belong to an army to accomplish much greater things than they could if fighting alone, and all the more so when it is an army fighting for the Rights of Christ our King.
But the actions of Catholics, as opposed to Catholic Action, though not the ideal, is surely better than nothing. It may well be the best we can hope for given the present extreme set of circumstances beyond our control. So we make the best of what we have available to us. Still, we can and should be doing more – much more! – as soldiers and lay apostles in this time of war. Until such time as the Resistance bishops and priests are moved by the inspirations of the Holy Ghost to begin “preaching” the new crusade of organized Catholic Action as the Popes of old “preached” the original Crusades (as Bp. Faure seems to be doing in France, and as Fr Chazal has done by urging the League’s reactivation, and serving as its chaplain), we have no choice but to content ourselves with individual action. That does not mean that our resolution, energy, zeal, militancy or fortitude should be any less. In fact, lacking the multiplicity of advantages of a more structured, solidified Catholic Action, our personal contributions in the struggle ought to be all that much more determined and self-sacrificing, as the void is greater and therefore, likewise, the Church’s need for our humble actions.
In keeping the active/exterior life in strict harmony with the interior life as we must (Catholic Action is a necessary extension of the interior life of grace), such actions should always be humble, but through them God can work miracles in emancipating minds from their confusion, in transforming souls from their tepidity, and in constructing a much more formidable and efficacious Resistance and Restoration. Our Lord and Our Lady will bring forth victories, big and small as they see fit – but not without their priests and faithful fighting those particular battles precisely as Heaven has commanded.
SJ: So how do you see this all playing out? Menzingen signs a deal? SAJM becomes the next SSPX? Chastisement comes in 6 months? What?
How things might play out in the Church and in the world? I’m certainly no prophet, only a simple soldier who understands the need to discern the spirits and keep oneself alert to the signs of the times. I make no predictions. I can only project what we know from the Church and from a Catholic worldview.
Antichrist is coming and will gain more power and fury the closer he gets. This means that Judaized Rome will fall deeper into apostasy and will become more and more the seat of Antichrist. I can easily visualize an already Judaized Menzingen finalizing its pact with the Devil. Islam, like Soviet communism, will eventually be crushed, having out-lived its usefulness (Muslims have no nuclear armaments to speak of; the Zionists have most of them). Israel, the United Jewish States of America, International Jewry, World Terrorism, Freemasonry, etc., will continue and even escalate their murderous Reign of Terror. The New World Order and its Universal Satanic Republic will continue to consolidate power over all peoples and nations. The strong possibility of a nuclear WWIII will continue to darken the horizon. The dollar will assuredly fail; economic collapse, martial law, widespread famine and bloody chaos across America are hardly stoppable; barring a miracle, the horrors of totalitarianism will be visited upon our country…
Meanwhile, however, the end-times apostles of Mary will show themselves more and more, even as their numbers will probably shrink as we’ve been seeing with the undoing of mainstream Tradition via the sellout of the SSPX and now even the Fatima Center – the last two great bastions of the faith. Having lost 2 saints (Lefebvre and Gruner), we are now on our own, so to speak… Please God, enough souls will be found worthy enough for Him to raise up more saints in these Last Days (The Great Monarch is yet to show himself – and thank God for our four Resistance bishops). Some Jews will convert and become a tremendous asset to the true remnant by joining the last pockets of Resistance of the Church Militant. I do not readily see the Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary (SAJM) becoming another SSPX, but, God willing, an increasingly powerful force to contend with as we engage in the final battles.
In other words, nothing new, nothing that we didn’t already know – both bad and good news. I am hopeful that, if we can get more souls to pray the rosary and do the First Saturdays and pray for the consecration of Russia, Putin may yet do something spectacular – under Mary’s inspiration and bolstered by our prayers. All we have to do is persevere and keep fighting. As St Pius X said, the time for doing nothing more than “watching and praying” is “over. It’s time now for ACTION.” But without organized Catholic Action reaching many thousands more, rather than the limited action of Catholics reaching just a small handful here and there, our deliverance from evil might never come to pass without first passing through a horrific firestorm and bloodbath.
And yet, the final chapter in this drama of life is one of great hope. Let us then look to the future triumphant Reign of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as we labor, without rest, as helpers of the Blessed Virgin in her war against the serpent.
SJ: Thank you, Mr. Akins for these thoughtful responses, which we hope our readers will find both encouraging and inspiring.
For those who would like to learn more about opportunities for Catholic Action, we encourage readers to visit Mr. Akins’ Catholic Action Resource Center at http://ca-rc.com/.