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Friday, January 30, 2009

"SSPX" Denies connection with una Voce, and claims fr Leslie wasn't theirs, despite newspaper, and sspx sources

(Tridentine South Africa)

Article by Marc Aupiais

According to an Article, published on Page one of the Kwazulu Natal (KZN) Mercury paper, a member of the Independent Newspapers (IOL) group: the Catholic church in Durban, has been forbidden, by local church structures, from partaking in the burial of a certain Fr Eldred Leslie. The Newspaper, then goes on to claim:

"Leslie, who was ordained by Hurley in 1968, belonged to the Pope Pius X Society, a right-wing breakaway group."
(29th Jan 2009; IOL; Independent; Secular: appearing in the Mercury, page 1)

Some time ago, we wrote an article, on the fact, that, unlike previous lack of mention of most priests' deaths, the Una Voce group in South Africa, had celebrated the life of a certain "Fr Leslie". Since then, we have received several emails from several sources. Our contacts in the Society itself, were certain the man was SSPX. Una Voce, were furious that we had published suspicions on them.

A certain Christopher Cordeiro, the head of Una Voce: in South Africa: called Fr Leslie:

"by "all" accounts a "good" and "holy" priest and well loved by many in KZN."
(email press release: 26 January 2009 22:16: inverted commas, underlining added in this particular quotation: for emphasis)

The fact: that he is being denied burial: makes this statement suspect: the church only denies burial to those: it believes are likely damned, or are not Catholic.

Claims that he was a "good" and "holy" priest, if Una Voce South Africa were to decide to avoid controversy, as to whether or not they believe SSPX claims, are easily combated: by his zeal to disobey: directly: his bishop, and appose Cardinal Napier, after the famous Bishop Hurley, who is known for his stance against Apartheid.

According to Una Voce SA, in an official statement released to us:

of their asking for prayers:

"This is simply an act of Christian charity for a man who was by all accounts a good and holy priest and well loved by many in KZN."
(26 January 2009 22:16)

In other words, they consider placing requests for, what the local church considered: a schismatic priest, and doing so: on their blog (internet log): without giving attention to his direct schism with local bishops: while treating him as a hero: to be an act of "Christian" Charity, when other loyal priests have not been granted such by Una Voce South Africa.

Finally, after calling a member of either his own personal schism, or the SSPX, who are still operting without the licence of local bishops: whatever the relations are on a personal, or Vatican level: "Godly", and "Holy": statements completely contrary, if Una Voce South Africa were not apposing what seems now the view of local hierarchy: to his denial of burial, and the apparent oppinions of those assigned to shepherd his soul: Una Voce SA adds:

"Una Voce SA's policy is not to comment on other Catholic groups (traditionalist or otherwise) or their members or activities."

(26 January 2009 22:16)

As though they had not just spoken of the man.

This is not to deny that the man can be seen as what they describe him as: my sources in SSPX, certainly seemed, at the time, and now even: to view the man as a good example. It is to say: that until negotiations occur, the SSPX, should be the only group lamenting the man in this manner: Una Voce SA's "policy" of not taking sides, or commenting: is what should be challenged.

Since then, we received email correspondence from the address:, from a man claiming to be: " Fr. Marc Vernoy, District Superior of Africa of the Society of St. Pius X". He claimed that our service was misunderstanding  facts, or producing errors about the Society, and denied any "official" ties with Una Voce.

The Man, was, it seemed: first language French, and also said several things off the record, which seem to validate his claim somewhat. SSPX's official site, was asked about the email address, and have not contacted us, as an organization should when one of their own is being misrepresented:

From such: we gather, that: it could well be their Africa Superior, especially, as the name is also listed on their site. He does seem validly their District Superior: "Marc Vernoy".

If he is not, I advise SSPX to do as we asked, and inform us of who he is, if not their person. As it is, all the signs say that this is valid correspondence.

The SSPX is an irregular canonical grouping, whose priests still seem to operate illicitly, via canon law: in any diocese, where they practice. Efforts are being made: to rectifuy the situation, but negotiations with the Vatican and Society, need to occur: and be successful. Statements by a Bishop Williamson, of the society: were viewed by Creative Minority Report, a social commentary: to be aimed at making it harder for church and society to reconcile. We cannot verify these claims.

Quotations, Links, and snippets below, are not guarantees of article content, nor is accuracy guaranteed, or insinuated, and such links, quotations and snippets are not guaranteed, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of South African Catholic, Or any persons, beings, organizations, or other affiliates associated with our grouping, and this article, or any site, or person associated with our site, or services. These links also are not endorsements of news, views, or perspectives offered by external news sources, which are not at all guaranteed by us, content placed in this section is also not guaranteed, as it is a quotation from an interview, and not our own views or perspectives, and is not said by us; nor is it an endorsement, of content, or of those saying what is said:

Email Details, received by us:

fromPère / Father Marc VERNOY < >
date28 January 2009 21:33
subjectSome questions

Email contents:


Allow me to present myself. I am Fr. Marc Vernoy, District Superior of Africa of the Society of St. Pius X.

I was told about several misunderstandings and errors spread on your blog.

I have no time to answer and correct everything, but two points.

1° Fr. Eldred Leslie has never be a member of the Society of St. Pius X, but a priest of the archdiocese of Durban and a very good friend and the founder of our Priory in Durban.
It is not fair to treat the case of a departed one that way and moreover when we know the atrocious circumstances of his death. We will be bury him in Marienhill next Wednesday.

2° About the assistance to S.S.P.X Masses.
The last lawful answer came from the commission Ecclesia Dei on 27 September 2002.
"Can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending a Pius X Mass?"
"1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X."
"Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass?":
"2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin."
"Is it a sin for me to contribute to the Sunday collection a Pius X Mass?" :
"3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified."

Yours truly.
Below some informations about Fr. Leslie.

The burials of Fr. Eldred Leslie will be held in the Monastery Church of Marienhill on 4 February at 10 a.m.

Father Eldred Leslie was born on the ship travelling from England to South Africa on 21st October, 1925. He tried his vocation quite early on but had to abandon it in order to look after his mother. When she died he went to the English Beda College in Rome for late vocations and was ordained in March 1970 in the old rite.
After spending some time in the modern church at at least three parishes in Durban he decided to celebrate the old rite exclusively. This brought him into conflict with the then Archbishop of Durban, Mgr. Denis Hurley, a rampant modernist. The disagreement went public via the press where Mgr. Hurley repeatedly accused Fr. Leslie of disobedience by saying the old Mass, which, he claimed, had been abolished.
Finally, Fr. Leslie was suspended by the Archbishop and was supported by a small group of faithful attached to the Traditional rite. From an improvised chapel in Thomy LeBreton's garage via a house in Clarence Road Fr. Leslie finally came to the church in Gum Tree Avenue in 1991 before 'retiring' to England in 1996 and leaving the chapel to the Society of St. Pius X.
Dissatisfied with life in England, he returned to South Africa moving to Pietermaritzburg where he stayed with a member of the faithful for a couple of years before getting his own house with a small chapel in Bulwer Street. It was in this house that he was murdered on 21st January this year.
Finding out that he had been given a substantial amount of cash to repair the roof of his simple home, a person known to him and therefore let into the house killed him in cold blood before making off with the cash, two cheque books and the credit card. Nothing else was taken.
Fr. Leslie was well known throughout Durban by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He was always popular in his parishes and known for his zeal in visiting the elderly throughout the city as well as many Catholics who were house bound. He was also very well known for his unstinted material support of the many indigent of all races. It was this kindness to all that ultimately led to his murder.

Bishop Fellay, General Superior of the Society of St. Pius X,  expresses his great pain about the death of Fr. Eldred Leslie in odious circumstances. He sends his condolence to all the friends and parishioners of Fr. Leslie and will celebrate very soon the Mass for this priest whom he knew and appreciated.

"I met Father Eldred Leslie in Durban on 18 November 2008. We started a very good relationship. When leaving he asked my blessing and I did the same. We have lost a pillar of Catholic Tradition in Africa after atrocious conditions. It is a great sorrow for all of us. I want to offer all my condolences to his family, his friends and all the parishioners of his priestly life. The Society of Saint Pius X owes him very much. We will keep and spread his memory as a beautiful and truly catholic example of the apostolate. He was slaughtered on the 21 January during the time of signature of the Decree removing the opprobrium on Catholic Tradition. After Our Lady, we believe that Fr. Leslie did a great job for its publication on the 24th. The devil does not like the priest, as he does not like the Mass and Tradition. Do pray for Fr. Leslie." Fr. Marc Vernoy, S.S.P.X Distrit Superior of Africa


We asked for permission to publish the email, and were granted such. Sources within the church, said that it was acceptable for us to publish, with our usual strong disclaimer: this email from what seems to be an SSPX official, we however: would like further: to point out our later response, which was not replied fully to yet, but which the source has promised to do so; note, Bishop Hurley, is a celebrated figure in the church in South Africa.

Email Details:
Marc Aupiais
Père / Father Marc VERNOY 
29 January 2009 11:58
Re: Some questions

Email Contents (NOTE, some sections have been excluded: due to a request by the so-called "SSPX" source, we will note when we do so
- When "[" or "]" are used, i.e. [ or ]: that which is encapsulated within such: is commentary on formatting, after the message. All formatting, to our knowledge, is explained in each explanation, and other explanations, foreign to the text: are also given in these.)
Details of Email repeated:

   Marc Aupiais
Père / Father Marc VERNOY 
29 January 2009 11:58
Re: Some questions

Contents of Email:
Thank you, this is most useful, and I generally respect confidentiality.
[excluded out of respect for off the record statements]
You quote a letter: Ecclesia Dei on 27 September 2002, I have been unable to find any mention, except on the Una Voce [their American Website: which had previously been sited as undermining the Magisterium, by Trinity Communications] website: which has gradually gotten better reviews, but still seems to be less than neutral.

My source, is a 1998 document from ecclesia dei, but even Una Voce's document notes that SSPX [space added, una voce, made "Una Voce", sspx, made SSPX, for publishing] priests are "Excommunicated", what does this refer to, and what would their current position be, I personally have been attempting to place an accurate but orthodox view of these matters. The later letter [reference to that which is seemingly quoted by the SSPX source, but which has been the centre of some controversy], has allot of controversy, and so: I prefer to avoid such!

[excluded out of respect of off the record statements, by them]

You said that Fr Leslie is not sspx, but that he set up sspx groupings, and gave over his parish to you, how exactly, did he relate with your grouping?

Also priory, is a hard to define word, it can mean a church? what would your say it means?

seems to say that a desire to have the Latin mass, is not sufficient reason to attend your masses, how would you answer that?

Also: you say "We will bury him", you refer to the society?

Who will take over his "small chapel"?

Also, did Una Voce inform you of our articles, or another grouping, can we be informed of their circumstance?

We do share a first name. I assume, you also have ancestors in our motherland: France?

I am very interested in clearing this up, as those in your church, do seem to think this man was an sspx priest?

Further, I would like to correspond with the official sspx email address, to ensure it is truly you I am speaking to, perhaps a few emails to guarantee, and a statement from them about this email.

The parts which are confidential: I see no reason to publish, I value such privacy. Of course, I would like public answers to my questions on Fr leslie and 1998 documentation.

It is not a single person who confirmed that Fr Leslie was SSPX, but more than one [original: "ne", correction in publishing here: "one") of your Parishioners believe such.

Also, what is your position, on SSPX members attending the summorum Pontificum, ecclesia dei mass, and how would you view the second Vatican council. I am wholly interested in such, and do hope for God's will in this matter, as I know more than just one member of your society, and reunification, is something I hope for.

Is it likely, that the society, will accept Vatican II, to allow full unification?

Is it of note to you, whether or not the documents be accepted?

Does sspx demand any view, on the other councils from parishioners: and as to Vatican II, do they demand a view on any documents? if not, for both, I would like to know the stance on views your priests have.

Why did not Fr Leslie, join the SSPX, if so associated with it.

Also, Bishop Hurley, I know of via family, he was important to my family, and known personally by representation of it. What do you mean, by "rampant modernist"? Do you refer to the heresy of modernism, or simply a modernizer, I mean to ask, if you are accusing him of heresy?

Do you view the Novus Order as Valid, and what is your view of the recent changes to the English Liturgy?

Thank you for the correspondence, this is important!

Père / Father Marc VERNOY, has since promised that he shall answer our questions, but due to time constraints, has not as yet been able to.

Our calling Fr Leslie SSPX, has been most fruitful: in the amount of emails received from many persons. The views of Père / Father Marc VERNOY, are his own, and we do not share, nor do we endorse these: nor do we guarantee their accuracy. Whether or not Fr Leslie is SSPX, is disputed by Père / Father Marc VERNOY, however, both our site, and a number of SSPX sources: have claimed him to be such, the Independent Newspapers report: also names him to be sspx, adding:

"A well-placed source told The Mercury on Wednesday that the church had had problems with Leslie in the past because he had refused to accept the authority of Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, and previously that of Archbishop Denis Hurley, the head and former head of the Catholic Church in Durban."

(29th Jan 2009; IOL; Independent; Secular: appearing in the Mercury, page 1)

Our reference to desiring to attend a Latin Mass, and therefore going to an SSPX church: not being adequate, may actually refer to another document, or to current pastoral advice. It does seem valid that this is the case however.

Whether or not, Mr Leslie, is SSPX, it does seem: that he has had close ties with them. We do find it odd, that Una Voce SA, chose to enter into such statements, if it indeed is against their policy.

No comments:

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