Editor’s note: Today on the Commemoration of St. Paul we are pleased to promote this incredible new book by Fr Mawdsley. I had the privileged of reading an advanced copy of volume 1 and I was stunned by the immense light from the Holy Scriptures that is brought by this true theologian of the Church. Please buy his new book here and see the whole New Old series here. -TSF
OnePeterFive: Many Trads were introduced to you when you produced a video response to Pope Francis. Can you tell us a little about yourself for those who are not familiar with your work? When were you ordained and what is your current status?
Fr. James Mawdsley: I was ordained in 2016 but suspended in 2022. I had already been removed from ministry for not enforcing covid restrictions. Then Traditionis custodes became an obstacle to my reinstatement.
Why do Francis and the hierarchy think it best to close churches, to keep people from the Sacraments, and to ban the Latin Mass? The Vatican has submitted to the spirit of this world; they serve Mammon; they have caved before the enemies of the Cross. They submit to the world because they fear death; their serving Mammon is seen in prelates, cathedrals and Francis pushing an unnecessary and dangerous gene therapy as if this is an act of religion; and the most powerful men in the Vatican have caved to the enemies who have hated God from the beginning because they do not believe in the power of the Cross, of Holy Mass, of sacrifice.
This has not come about in a vacuum. It is the result of enmity toward the Cross which goes back to the first generation of brothers. Now the Church has all but lost the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews because we do not understand the meaning and purpose of the Crucifixion, of Christ’s Sacrifice and its continuation in the traditional liturgy. It is everything.
In this disorientation, my situation reached the point that literally anyone could shut down my ministry. I was told I could not offer public Masses if I did not wear a mask for the distribution of Holy Communion, although this is unworthy and irrational. It was not just superiors and the local diocesan priests and the bishop who could remove me if I did not comply, not just any policeman or junior official from the health department, but anyone who walked into the church. I experienced this in Germany, where we had an awesome and packed Easter Triduum, but five of the laity complained that too many people were present. So I was removed within a week.
Many priests of goodwill reasoned: “If you do not comply with the restrictions, you risk losing the apostolate.” But it seems far more pertinent to say: “If we do comply, and if we compel the faithful to do so, then we are losing souls by abandoning the mission of the Church.” It is one thing to follow the measures because one is weak. It is quite another to prohibit others from continuing their sacramental life. There is a loss of the eternal perspective and a vicious abuse of authority.
In 2022 I left the apostolate without permission, knowing I would be suspended. In 2023, due to prolonged absence, I was expelled from the order. I am not complaining about this. The enemy is subverting the Church Militant. Being suspended is a necessary price for me to resist. I can obey the penalties while seeking to overturn the mindset that led to them. And for reasons given below, it is certain that the Cross will triumph.
Is it true that you were in solitary confinement in Burma with the Bible? What did that experience do to you?
Yes: three months of solitary in 1998 and fourteen months in 1999-2000. It was difficult to get the Bible, but well worth the wait. I was so hungry for anything to read. And it amazed me. I needed a few weeks without it as a preparatory purification: time to forget about comfort and consumer goods, time to repent and beg God for mercy. And then when the Bible came, I had few distractions.
What struck me then was God’s hatred of injustice. Yet He permits it because He wants us to grow up and fight it — to bear our crosses manfully. Read Jeremiah: God’s word is as fire, like a hammer that shatters rocks! Christ set me free in prison. I have never been so happy. Truly our freedom is within, it is spiritual. We have nothing, nothing on earth to fear.
After prison I made some high-level visits to North Korea, again seeking to understand totalitarianism and how to overcome it. Engaging in western politics, it dawned on me that Europe is not free, England is not free. Our political leadership is part of the problem.
Under Francis it has been the most eye opening discovery that the Church Militant is not free either, but is in the hands of a totalitarian, homo mafia who will destroy everything sooner than repent. They will certainly lose, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. But we are like children unprepared for the depths of evil we have to face. We are like sheep before wolves. The saints face the worst of it, and triumph. The rest of us are heavily protected by God and the angels, and yet we still find it terrible. We are called to grow spiritually. Victory lies in trusting God absolutely, in accepting everything that comes from His Hand, in being willing to sacrifice ourselves. All this is achievable even for children — as Fatima shows. It is not beyond us, but we need to become focussed on simplicity in order to conquer the most horrific of forces.
The enemies of the Church seek to prevent souls from coming to Holy Mass. The Vatican is serving their wicked agenda. We have seen Francis and innumerable bishops promote lockdowns and an untested gene therapy instead of the Faith and the Sacraments. And now they are trying to eradicate the apostolic liturgy. They are blind leading the blind into a pit, into hell.
Tell us about the New Old Series. What are your goals with this series?
There are two narratives on earth. The first is that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Messiah. This goes back to Eden, the promised seed, the Saviour. The expectation developed in Israel and with Pentecost it went universal.
The other narrative is that Jesus is not the Son of God. We might think that there are many competing worldviews or religions. But there are not. There is only truth and attacks upon it. The most direct attacks against Jesus are what cause obscurity and confusion, leading to countless false accounts of reality, misconceptions of the meaning of life, empty religions.
The New Old series is written to show that what is constant through all history is also constant for every single soul. We are confronted with a question about our Father and our brother: do we see God in our neighbour? This question is posed most acutely by the Crucifixion. If we see that God sent His Son to redeem us from sin by dying — and this can be seen by analogy in every community, in every century, in every place — then we have the Way to freedom from death.
The competing narrative denies that Jesus is the promised Messiah. It uses the Old Testament to do this, but so ineptly that it actually causes atheism. And some resort to satanism. These spiritual forces are the causes of error, of heresy, of Islam, of Protestantism, of modernism, of transgenderism, transhumanism and all work toward global totalitarianism. We know with theological certitude that all this will fail, though it be an immense battle. The New Old series is written to encourage and strengthen the readers in faith, to offer an invincible hope, and to cast out fear so that charity may abound and conquer all.
When did you get into studying relationship with the Jews? How important is this question?
When I was in prison in 1998 I fell in love with Christ, with St Paul, with Moses and the Prophets. It is clear they are all on exactly the same team, that the Old Testament is written by the Spirit of God.
I received tremendous help from Jews when I was in prison and afterward. They are a visionary people and very, very able. But their visions are false messianism and their abundant talents are not put to the service of Christ. I travelled to the Holy Land three times and listened to many varying perspectives. After this, I devoured everything the Church was saying about Catholic-Jewish relations. But post Vatican II it seemed empty of the Cross and it had none of the bold truth that we hear from converted Jews. One cannot doubt the immense goodwill of Pope Benedict XVI toward the Jews, and yet their narrative paralysed him.
About ten years ago I started listening very closely to the rabbis. It was incredible to discover that everything true they say about the Torah actually points to Jesus Christ, although they do not know it. They do this even better than Catholic bishops, who seem not to know it either. It seems like a mystery that those who were made to welcome the Messiah crucified Him. But all the failings of historical Israel are not strange to us, because their sins continue in the Church today, and each of us has our part in this.
It is not that everyone has to be much occupied with the Jewish Question. But all Catholics have to pray on Good Friday with sincerity for the conversion of the Jews. If we do not, we do not know the Faith. To enable proper prayer, it is absolutely vital that the Church hierarchy understand the matter: face up to what is at stake. Because if we will not pray for the conversion of the Jews, we will lose everything, as we have been witnessing for seventy years. Their conversion is part of God’s plan. If we think that to make ‘peace’ with the world we can neglect it, or dilute it, or even dismiss it (as exegetes and theologians and clerics now do), then we will feel the increasing fury of hell unleashed until we revert.
If we do not pray for the conversion of the Jews it is either because we have no (or little) Faith, or because we do not realise our own sinfulness, or because we are governed by hatred. In every case it is a spiritual disaster which contributes to the direction of history. But by being faithful Catholics — by believing, by repenting, by loving — the Church will be restored and history will be turned around and the globalists, the usurers, the totalitarians, those seeking immortality through the blood of babies, will have nowhere left to go but to Jesus or to hell.
What is the doctrinal weight of the doctrine of the end times conversion of the Jews?
The Church is very clear about the headlines of the Last Things. Death, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and the General Judgement are all de fide. The Second Coming of Jesus is de fide, but the particular signs of this are not given a note. Ludwig Ott lists these signs, of which we can be sure, but on which the Church has not pronounced a particular note: the preaching of the Gospel to the whole world, the (morally universal) conversion of the Jews, a wide scale falling away from the Faith, the appearance of the Antichrist, and severe tribulations.
I am completely convinced that the conversion of the Jews will happen because so many of the Church Fathers find it in the New Testament, and so many saints since have reinforced this. Then I have been amazed to find it also in the Old Testament — through the Torah, in the Prophets, in the Writings and in the Historical Books. It is hidden there throughout. The more I ponder it in the light of history and the current global crisis, and of the spiritual consequences of evil and persecution, and the example of St Paul, then I cannot see how it cannot happen. History makes no sense without it.
Why two volumes?
The Jewish Question is a minefield. If you want to defuse mines, it is better to go alone. That is why I left my order — because if you set off a landmine, then you do not want other people standing in the vicinity. If possible, you first want to erect safety barriers, and that is what the first books of the New Old series are for. They might not work, but they are my best attempt. For approaching this minefield, I am already hearing shrieks from left and right; from people who say the Jews do not need to convert as well as those who say the Jews cannot convert. The whole book series demonstrates that both objections are faithless.
Now in attempting to clear a minefield, we are not permitted to be reckless. So the project must be done carefully. Hence the first volume of If You Believed Moses. This is to prevent missteps, to show the narrow way that the Scriptures teach. The second volume is to attempt controlled explosions. Some mines will go off, but God willing no one will get hurt. Then the way is free, and I hope to return to priestly ministry. So long as the Church is petrified by this minefield, I cannot. Being unable to discuss the Jewish Question is equivalent to being hemmed in by minefields, frozen in place, all the while under an artillery barrage or sniper fire. We have almost lost our liturgy because of it. We have almost lost exegesis because of it. Almost lost the Fathers, scholastics, Sacraments and Gospel because of it. And the world has gone insane. It is following a false messianism instead of Christ crucified.
Again, as the whole subject is so contentious, it seemed important to present the solution before detailing the problem. The solution is conformity to Jesus Christ, it is self-sacrifice. St Stephen shows us how to preach the truth and bear the backlash for it. What he did is impossible without grace. If we contemplate Christ, St Stephen and St Paul, then we are protected from two broad errors on the Jewish Question. The Bible presents the relationship of Jews to Christians as that an elder brother bearing a mortal animus against his younger brother out of envy. This is why Jesus was crucified. We see it in Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Joseph’s half-brothers against him. This tension is so murderous, irrational and terrifying that many err by defect or excess. The defect is to deny enmity but stress brotherhood, universal fraternity. The excess is to stress enmity and exclude brotherhood. But the Bible and the liturgy give a perfect answer. That is what the New Old series strives to show. Without the pre-1955 liturgy, our hearts and minds are made weak, which renders our prayers ineffective. This is why Satan wants to eradicate it — because when it is restored, which will require it being understood and loved like never before, his reign of terror is over.
It is because I am a sinner that I cannot write off the enemies of the Cross. So long as someone is breathing, they can repent — as I did in prison (and I still sin). Some people write off the Jews and say they can never convert, never be saved. This is as ignorant of theology as it is of the spirit, and of the wisdom, power and goodness of God. The reason I came back to the Church is because people in the Church prayed and made sacrifice and gave witness. The same is true on a global, historical level for the Jews. But if someone wants to condemn the Jews as without hope, then they might as well condemn every sinner as being without hope. That means we condemn ourselves to damnation.
When we see Jesus on the Cross, we are meant to see God-with-man, and that our sins crucified Him, and also that divine love conquers sin. If we say we do not sin (as many do), then what part do we have in the Cross? What use is His Blood for us? But if we are washed by His Blood, we want that for everyone.
In prison I experienced the power of Christ’s love. He lifts us out of sin. His love turns our hell to Heaven. It fills the darkness of this world with light. It fills misery with ecstasy. I do not say He takes suffering away, but He fills suffering with joy. He loves us and He loves the Jews. He died for us and died for them. But however many of us and them choose today to go to hell, His arm to save is not foreshortened. It remains fully extended right until the end. We come closest to Calvary in Holy Mass and martyrdom. We can have one or the other or both. And no one on earth or under the earth can take them both away.
I have always been struck by St. Paul’s identification of the elder and younger brothers, but your book brought out how this is consistent in the Torah and the whole Old Testament, all the way to Our Lord’s parable of the Prodigal Son (which should be more properly called the “Parable of the Two Sons”). Can you elaborate on this theme? And did you find this in the Fathers or connect the dots yourself?
Well, joining the dots is a massive team effort, with help from a very unexpected corner. The theme is thoroughly consistent. St Paul identifies the mothers of Ishmael and Isaac as representing Synagogue and Church, so the boys as types for Jews and Christians. St Paul does similarly for Esau and Jacob. St Augustine adds Cain and Abel to the list, along with other Church Fathers, adding Joseph, representing Jesus, and his homicidal half-brothers. But of course, by the Providence of God, their calamities end in reconciliation. Origen sees Miriam as a type of the Synagogue, Aaron as type for the Judaism and Moses as Christianity. To this we can add Zara and Phares as well as Ephraim and Manasseh. Always the younger overtakes or supplants the elder, as the New Covenant abrogates the Old.
But it was the rabbis who showed me that there is a development through the Torah of murderous Cain against Abel ending in the embrace of Moses and Aaron, so that the enmity of brothers is healed. Yet without Christ, it is impossible to understand or achieve this. The idea of universal fraternity is an anti-theological lie, a disaster. But also denying brotherhood is anti-revelation. It is not enough to say the Jews are “the adversaries of mankind” (1 Thess 2:15) and “the synagogue of satan” (Apoc 2:9; 3:9) as if it ends there. This diabolical enmity is real, but it is overcome in Christ, Who makes peace in His Blood from the Cross, Who makes the two to be one (Eph 2:11-17).
Incidentally, the theme of younger and elder brothers is continued in David and after him in Solomon. And we see it in St Peter and St Andrew, and St James and St John, but here, though the younger of each pair is favoured, all are united in Christ. The Torah even shows us how mothers achieve this, typifying Mary the Mother of the Church. I expand on that in If You Believed Moses.
What are some of the most surprising parts of Scripture on this theme?
St Bede astonished us with what he finds in the Book of Tobit. This book is not recognised by Jews or Protestants as canonical. But the healing of the blindness of Tobit is certainly about the veil being lifted from the hearts of the Jews at the end of the age and their embracing Jesus Christ with tears.
There are also very mystifying passages in the Bible, like Ex 4:24-26, or Judges 19-21. These seem horrific. Yet concealed in them are awesome clues about the final conversion of the Jews. And these are revealed in the light of Christ — the same light that dazzled Saul on the way to Damascus, when Jesus turned the persecutor of the Church into the Apostle to the Gentiles. In this light the Church Fathers show us how to find the conversion of the Jews in the teaching, the miracles and the life of Jesus, all recorded in the Gospels. For example, in the book I try to trace how it can be discerned in the Nativity of Jesus, in the flight into Egypt, in His Boyhood when He was found in the Temple, in His Public Mission, in His Passion and in His Ascension. These are gossamer threads, but tougher than steel.
Why is it important to provoke Catholics to charity toward the Jews?
If we do not love our enemies we risk hell for them and for us by abandoning them. And if in supine naivety we say there is no enmity, if we pretend there can be a universal fraternity of believer and non-believer, of Abel and Cain, of the elect and the reprobate, then we will taste hell on earth (Volume 2 explains this) and might well have it for eternity too.
But the Cross is the answer. We are called to contemplate the richness of the Cross, to see the immeasurable love of God, His willingness to forebear so that we accept His forgiveness even for the most horrific of sins, and imitate His Sacrifice so that others may come to Heaven too.
If we do not preach the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, Son of God, then we will suffer the eruptions of false messianism and finally fall under the Antichrist. There is a saying: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” It is truer to say: “You might not be interested in false messianism, but false messianism is interested in you.” The rule of Antichrist will be world domination. That will not be a domination like the Dominus, Jesus Christ, Who is Lord by washing the feet of His disciples and dying for us. It will be the most fearful totalitarianism the world has ever seen. But the only way to defeat it is with the divine forbearance of David toward Saul (Ps 7:4), of St Stephen toward the Sanhedrin, of Jesus on the Cross. Nothing else will conquer but pure charity, self-sacrificial love. It will become more and more apparent: we must love, or we will have hell.
Yet it is foreordained. The Cross will conquer. The Saints will prevail. The end of history will include the conversion of the Jews and it will be awesome beyond all our imaginings. It is going to be the most stupendous turn-around, the details beyond our ability to formulate in advance. Pray for it. Pray for it on Good Friday. Pray for it on Good Friday with the traditional, pre-1955 prayer, no matter what everyone else around you is doing. It will happen.