HOLINESS IN THE FAMILY

HOLINESS IN THE FAMILY

Effort and Last Ends

by Brother François-Marie O.P. (Avrillé. France)

The Effort

THE DEVELOPMENT of supernatural life follows the same pattern as that of natural life: the mother, in giving birth to her child, rejoices in the fact that she has brought a man into the world, but to achieve the goal of forming an adult man, she and her husband will need a whole succession of generous efforts, labors, trials, and sufferings. That’s what education is all about.

Today’s society in which we live doesn’t make this work any easier, not only because of all the evil in it, but also because of the technical developments designed to make life easy. Why make the effort when, apparently, everything can be done so easily, so painlessly?

At a time when education is putting computers everywhere, it’s worth pondering this quote from Georges Duhamel’s Défense des lettres:

The day when teachers, who are our precious allies in this defense of civilization, stop teaching children the religion of the book, our world will be ripe for a new barbarism.

For decades, the law of convenience has governed all educational reforms. In the 1970’s-1980’s, for example, we saw the emergence of a method for learning lessons in one’s sleep! All you had to do was listen to the recorded lesson a certain number of times in your sleep, and your memory would retain it effortlessly. The lazy schoolboy’s dream had come true!

Historians have observed that, in the history of peoples, if the comfort brought by progress is not accompanied by a high moral ideal, it does not bring the flourishing of civilization, but its agony. In your families, in Catholic schools, you and your children’s teachers strive to give children the highest moral ideal possible: holiness. But, whether we like it or not, we are immersed in today’s society, and children are contaminated: we generally see a certain lightness, carelessness, superficiality, immaturity, and difficulty in taking charge of their own lives.

The important question is: how can we give children a taste for effort in education and school instruction?

It’s a long subject to cover! Let’s just highlight a few important points from Comment former des hommes by Henri PRADEL (the quotations are taken from this author).

  1. Teach children that effort is necessary for a successful life, both natural and supernatural, and that it is always possible and relatively easy.

Our will, which seems so weak to us, is capable of amazing things when it relies on obedience to accomplish God’s will in our various duties of state.

All spiritual writers agree in teaching that obedience, by identifying our will with that of God, makes us all-powerful over ourselves and makes us participants in the divine power to overcome evil. This is what made Lacordaire say:

I want to! It’s the rarest word in the world, though the most frequently usurped. But when a man has the terrible secret of it, be he poor today of everything, be sure that one day you’ll find him higher than anything.

This confirms the saying: “Nothing is impossible to a valiant heart”. Often, it’s only the first step that costs. That’s why we need to inspire children with a benevolent optimism in the face of difficulties, and not accustom them to moaning.

  1. The joy of effort.

We need to show them in concrete terms that every effort is rewarded with satisfaction, and that the struggle more than makes up for the effort.

Effort is capable of producing something beautiful: a neat assignment, a well-understood and well-learned lesson.

  1. Develop initiative.

It’s important to get children to work on their own.

At first, when the child is young, you have to want to do things for him, then, little by little, you have to obtain his cooperation by proceeding in stages:

  • Suggest a homework assignment.

  • Point out the difficulties.

  • Explain how to overcome difficulties and that victory will bring honor and joy.

  • Appeal to his valor, his taste for fighting.

  • Making sure it’s done right.

  • Encouraging success.

  • Show the shortcomings of the execution.

  1. Instilling a love of work well done.

As Goethe said, “Knowing and doing a single thing well leads to higher development than half-doing a hundred things”.

The love of a job well done is a powerful source of effort, which is why we must banish sloppy, incomplete, superficial, neglected work.

  1. Supernatural help

We have said that Catholic parents and educators strive to give the children God has entrusted to them the greatest moral ideal of all: holiness. Children are enthusiastic about this ideal, which is concretely embodied in the lives of the saints. They understand that if the saints succeeded in living well according to God and deserved to go to heaven, it’s because they believed in the truths revealed by God and summarized in the Creed, observed the commandments in an increasingly perfect manner, and succeeded in striving to overcome all obstacles. But what was the principle of their efforts? God’s grace, obtained through prayer and the sacraments.

Children, much more than adults, are aware of their weakness, and therefore of the need for prayer to ask divine omnipotence for the help they need to make the efforts required of them. They readily turn to the sacraments, especially confession and Holy Communion, to replenish their strength. For without God, nothing can be done in the supernatural order.

That’s why, our author concludes, education of effort will find in Christian faith and practice the indispensable help without which it will be doomed to failure.

The coming year is a good time for effort, so let’s encourage children to meditate on the example of Jesus and to turn to Him for the graces they need, so as to make and keep good, concrete resolutions in relation to their duty as students. We can help them do this by reading the lives of saints who have been model pupils, or by mottos such as:

  • “Nothing is impossible to a valiant heart” (Jacques Cartier).

  • “Your life will be short, it must be full” (Jacques d’Arnoux).

  • “You can only reach the summits by long and hard paths”.

The last ends

November is the month dedicated to the dead. It’s an excellent educational opportunity to get children thinking about the seriousness of life, all oriented towards our final ends, and to get them exercising the Christian virtues.

  1. Reflections on the seriousness of life and the last ends.

Nature itself helps us to reflect: at this time of year: vegetation loses its beautiful summer finery and seems to die; the days grow shorter, fog and bad weather envelop everything in grayness. So everything inclines us to go inward, to remember, to reflect. So it’s the perfect time to push open the door to the cemetery and enter.

There are the modest cemeteries of our villages, squeezed around the church, but there are also the cemeteries of our cities. If you haven’t yet been to your local cemetery, take your children! It’s a little town within a town, but what a difference! No traffic, no noise, no fuss. In this haven for the dead, only the monuments speak to us of the lives of people who, not so long ago, were alive like us.

Gravestones themselves are highly instructive. They provide information on the foliage of families, the circumstances of death, the profession of the deceased, the affection of the family of the deceased, etc. Children should be made to read the inscriptions.

After these observation “exercises”, the findings and questions will come naturally. Yes, like them, we all die one day. Where are they now? In hell? In purgatory? In heaven? Can we help them with our prayers? This is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the truths we learned in catechism. Indeed, in such a context, these truths will penetrate children’s minds more deeply.

  1. Practicing the Christian virtues.

Let’s remind our children that charity is not only exercised towards those we come into contact with, but also towards the whole Mystical Body. Yes, we can help our deceased, and they are waiting for us to do so!

St. Augustine says: “To show to the deceased, by the faithful who are dear to them, a love that remembers and prays is certainly profitable to those who, during their corporeal life, have merited such things to be useful to them after this life.”

Let us take action by reciting a De profundis or a decade of the rosary for the relief of the souls of those remembered at the grave.

In the cemetery, let’s show them the “corner of remembrance”, saying nothing, waiting for the questions to come: why isn’t there a monument? What are those little squares?

This is an excellent opportunity to talk to them about the respect due to the body, the duty to bury the dead with dignity, and therefore the virtue of gratitude as well as the virtue of faith, as Saint Augustine teaches us:

We must not despise or abandon the bodies of the deceased, especially those of the righteous and faithful, whose spirit has made holy use of them, as organs and instruments for every kind of good work.

For if the garment, the father’s ring and other such objects are all the more dear to descendants the greater their filial love, we absolutely cannot disdain the bodies themselves, united to us more intimately and more closely than any garment. They are not ornaments or instruments that we add to ourselves from the outside, but the very nature of man. […]

Everything we devote to burying a body is a duty of humanity imposed by the love that forbids hating one’s own flesh.

This is why we must be as concerned as possible for the flesh of our loved one, when the one who bore it is gone. And if those who do not believe in the resurrection do so, how much more must those who do believe in it do so: so that this duty, rendered to the body which is dead, but called to rise again and dwell eternally, may be like a testimony to this faith.

These are some excellent arguments to make those who choose cremation think again.

Perhaps a child will ask you how the dead will rise, or with what body. Answer him with these words of Saint Paul, who takes the comparison of seeds:

What you sow is not the future body, but a simple seed, for example of wheat or some other plant. But God gives this seed a body as he wills, and each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but the flesh of men is different, the flesh of cattle is different […], the flesh of heavenly bodies is different, the flesh of earthly bodies is different […]. The body sown in corruption will rise incorruptible; sown in ignominy, it will rise in glory; sown in infirmity, it will rise in power; sown an animal body, it will rise a spiritual body (1 Co 15, 37-44).

After all these reflections, it will be easy to show children that the goal of life is to achieve this blessed resurrection. So we can’t let ourselves go. Our future depends on the conduct of our present life, and this life is passing quickly; we are not sure of tomorrow! That’s why we need to pray constantly for the graces we need to put Jesus’s teachings into practice, so that we can live truly Christian lives.

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The Synod On Synodality

The Synod on Synodality

The Synod of Bishops: a change in the government of the Church

1. A New Feature of Vatican II

1.Establishment of a council of bishops by Pope Paul VI

The Synod of Bishops is a new institution, established during the Council by Pope Paul VI in the Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo of September 15, 1965.

What is it? It is a “permanent council of bishops for the universal Church, subject directly and immediately to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff”.

Its members are the patriarchs, the major archbishops and metropolitan bishops, the presidents of the episcopal conferences and a specific number of bishops elected by their peers within these conferences.

On the following October 28th, the conciliar decree Christus Dominus on the pastoral office of bishops in the Church confirmed the existence of this assembly of “bishops chosen from the various regions of the world to provide the Supreme Shepherd of the Church with more effective assistance within a council which has received the name of Synod of Bishops” (no. 5).

Its function is only consultative. It has no decision-making power unless, in specific cases, it has received this power from the Roman Pontiff, who must then ratify the Synod’s decisions.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law (C. 342-348) places this new structure just after the Pope and before the Cardinals.

2.Increasing openness to non-bishops

As early as 1965, Paul VI made provision in his Motu Proprio for the possible participation of non-bishops, limited to 15% of the membership. Those concerned were only clerics, or representatives of religious institutes, or experts appointed by the Pope.

In 2006, Benedict XVI opened the synod to lay people, but without the right to vote (Ordo Synodi episcoporum).

However, on April 26, 2023, Cardinal Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, and Cardinal Hollerich, General Reporter, announced that the percentage of lay people had risen to 21% and that they would have the right to vote. The following should be noted:

– the novelty of having provisions contrary to the law currently in force announced by members of the Synod and not by the Pope – even if he obviously consents. But Pope Francis is not very scrupulous when it comes to laws, even those of the conciliar Church; clearly, it was necessary to ‘act fast’.

– We should also note the oddity of having lay people vote in an assembly of bishops: is this still a “Synod of Bishops”?

– Finally, it should be noted that the proportion of new voters (21%) is not insignificant in an assembly that can adopt its final document by a two-thirds majority.

In addition, the Synod is mixed: 50% of the laity will be women. Many young people have also been invited 1.

All these people, no doubt hand-picked, are supposed to represent the Christian people. There is room for doubt.

3.A consultative body transformed into a governing body

It should be borne in mind that the Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis communio of September 15, 2018, restructured the Synod of Bishops.

It considerably increases the role and competences of the Secretary General of the Synod, who becomes the real driving force behind synodal activity by mandate and under the direct guidance of the Supreme Pontiff, who is no longer content to receive synodal work passively, as has been the case until now, but actively promotes, coordinates and directs it.

This raises the question of whether the Synod of Bishops remains a merely consultative body for the Pope, or whether it has become an organ of government, independent of the Curia 2.

2. The Revolution in Progress

On June 20, 2023, the Vatican presented the Instrumentum laboris – working instrument – a preparatory document for a “Synod on Synodality”, which is due to bring together 364 participants in Rome from October 4 to 29, 2023.

The document was drawn up on the basis of diocesan synods organized around the world over the last two years to consult the “people of God” on their wishes regarding the life of the Church. Summaries have been drawn up for each country and then for each continent.

So much time, energy and money wasted on talking, and this will continue for almost a month at the Vatican (think of the money it costs: travel from abroad, meals, accommodation). Meanwhile, souls are falling into Hell through ignorance of the truths that need to be believed in order to be saved.

  1. Destruction of authority

The central question posed by the Instrumentum laboris, which is present in numerous technical sheets, is: “Who decides in the Church, and how?”

The document raises the following question:

Is authority a form of power derived from models offered by the world, or is it a genuine service? […] The continental assemblies have denounced the phenomena of appropriation of power and decision-making processes that have led to the various forms of abuse – sexual, financial, spiritual and of power – that have come to light in the Church in recent decades. Is responsibility for dealing with abuse individual or systemic?

The document suggests that responsibility for “abuse” may lie with the system itself, i.e. the way in which the exercise of authority has been organised in the Church up to the present day. We can see the direction in which the Instrumentum laboris intends to steer the debate.

We will therefore have to discuss:

the manner in which the ministry of the bishop is exercised; […] on the degree of authority to be attributed to episcopal conferences. […] Changes may need to be made to Canon Law.

The following should be considered:

cases where the authority feels unable to confirm the conclusions of a community discernment process, and takes a decision in a different direction; […] in which cases a bishop might feel obliged to take a decision that differs from the considered opinion offered by the consultative bodies.

Note the qualifier “considered” given to the opinion of the consultative bodies, which discredits the bishop’s opposition in advance.

But the Synod will not only question the authority of the bishops. It must examine:

the understanding of authority in the Church at different levels, including that of the Bishop of Rome.

The Instrumentum laboris raises the (foreseeable) case of “local Churches taking different directions”. What is to be done? The Pope is asked to examine “the possible scope for a diversity of orientations in different regions”. One wonders what will remain of the unity of the Church.

* A look back at the Sauvé Report

It will be recalled that in November 2018, the French Bishops’ Conference entrusted an “independent” commission chaired by former senior civil servant Jean-Marc Sauvé with the task of resolving the “questions raised by the sexual abuse committed by French ecclesiastics”.

It is interesting to note that Jean-Marc Sauvé, a progressive Christian by family tradition, had been vice-president of the Conseil d’Etat, a member of the Socialist Party and an adviser to Badinter. Among the members of the commission he had chosen: Nathalie Bajos, director of INSERM where she is in charge of the “Gender, sexual and reproductive health” team; Sadek Belouci, chairman of the advisory board of the Fondation de l’Islam de France; Antoine Garapon, a progressive Christian judge who called for a vote for Macron in 2017; Christine Lazerges, a Protestant with a law degree and a former Socialist MP, and so on.

The commission found only 35 files on clerics convicted between 1950 and 2020 – still too many, but still not many. As the abused children or their parents did not always denounce the facts, the commission tried to survey the faithful: posters on parish doors, surveys, etc. The result was a sample of 171 victims from which, by statistical extrapolation, the commission arrived at a figure of 330,000 people abused.

However, INSEE immediately reacted, saying that the sample was not representative, while the Catholic Academy of France protested, pointing out “the implausibility of the figures and the ideological spirit that governed this work”, resulting in a “profoundly inaccurate, even erroneous” result. Jean-Marc Sauvé, a member of the said Académie, immediately resigned, as did Mgr de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the French Bishops’ Conference (also a member).

The bishops of France nevertheless took note of the “Sauvé Report” as if they were eager to humiliate themselves publicly, but they humiliated the Church: Bishop de Moulins-Beaufort asked for forgiveness on his knees in front of journalists at the annual episcopal assembly in Lourdes.

What is interesting to note here is that, in its conclusion, the Report refers to abuse as a “systemic phenomenon”, thereby accusing the system, i.e. the institution of the Church itself, of being responsible for failing to curb the crimes of its clergy 3.

However, in the Instrumentum laboris of the Synod of 2023, we note the following question, mentioned above:

Are responsibilities for dealing with abuse individual or systemic?

Everything fits together.

2.The Synodal Church’s way of proceeding:
a conversation in the Spirit

Note that the conciliar Church has changed its title. It is now called the “Synodal Church”. Archbishop Benelli had invited Archbishop Lefebvre’s seminarians to be faithful to the “Conciliar Church” 4. Are we now going to be asked, in order to be Catholics, to be faithful to the “synodal Church”? In fact, even the Pope and the bishops will be required to do so, if we refer to the guidelines set out in the Instrumentum laboris (see above).

But let’s continue reading the document:

The term “conversation in the Spirit” does not indicate a simple exchange of ideas, but that dynamic in which the word spoken and listened to generates a familiarity that enables the participants to become intimate with one another.

The precision “in the Spirit” identifies the authentic protagonist. […] Conversation between brothers and sisters in the faith opens up the space for listening to the Spirit together. […] In the final documents of the continental assemblies, this practice is described as a Pentecostal moment.

The “conversation in the Spirit” will take place in three stages:

  • First stage:

The first stage is devoted to each person speaking from his or her own personal experience. The others listen in silence.

This is the height of modernist subjectivism.

  • Second stage:

Each member of the group then takes the floor, not to react or counter what has been heard by reaffirming his or her own position, but to express what, in the course of listening, has touched him or her most deeply, and what he or she feels most challenged by.

The fact that there may be a truth, and therefore an error if we deviate from it, is of no interest here. What counts is the “feeling”.

  • Third stage:

The third stage consists of identifying the key points that have emerged, and reaching a consensus on the fruits of the joint work. […] We need to be discerning, paying attention to the marginal voices, and not overlooking the importance of the points on which we disagree.

To ensure that this process runs as smoothly as possible, it is important to have well-trained facilitators:

Given the importance of conversation in the Spirit in animating the life of the synodal Church, training in this method, and in particular the challenge of having people capable of accompanying communities in this practice, is seen as a priority at all levels of church life.

Suitable premises will also be needed:

On June 20, 2023, in the Vatican Press Room, Father Giacomo Costa S.J., consultant to the General Secretariat of the Synod, announced that the assembly would be held in the Paul VI Audience Hall:

the room can be set up with round tables around which working groups of ten or so people can be seated.

3.The icing on the cake: a discussion on the ordination of married men to the priesthood and the diaconate for women.

The Instrumentum laboris invites Synod participants to:

reflect on the ordination of married men to the priesthood and the ordination of women to the diaconate.

  • We recall that the ordination of married men is a project that Pope Francis wanted to implement on the occasion of the Amazon Synod. It seems that the work on priestly celibacy 5 published at the same time by Cardinal Sarah and co-signed by Benedict XVI temporarily halted the process.

In a book entitled “Rien d’autre que la vérité. Ma vie aux côtés de Benoît XVI6, published by Arthège in 2023 after the death of Benedict XVI, Archbishop Gänswein, who was Benedict XVI’s private secretary, explains that Benedict XVI had sent Cardinal Sarah seven pages on the priesthood, which he had written without considering publishing them, but allowing him to “use them as he wished”. Cardinal Sarah quoted them, but it is inaccurate to say that the work was as if co-authored by Cardinal Sarah and Benedict XVI, as the publisher has taken the liberty of presenting it.

Now that Benedict XVI is dead, it is not surprising to see Pope Francis bringing out the dossier again.

In any case, the candidates are ready-made: the married deacons who have been officiating every Saturday evening in parishes without priests for many years are the perfect candidates for the conciliar Church… except that they will not have done any priestly studies worthy of the name.

  • As for the “ordination of women to the diaconate”, the term is inappropriate and misleading. The diaconate is a sacrament that is a participation in the sacrament of Holy Orders, which women cannot validly receive. They cannot therefore be validly ordained deacons. At most, they can only receive a kind of blessing to distribute communion, bring it to the sick, celebrate funerals and preach, which they have been doing for a long time. But this will give them an official status that will put it in people’s minds that one day perhaps they will be able to accede to the priesthood.

We cannot object to the deaconesses of the primitive Church. Their functions were to care for the poor and sick of their own sex; to act as intermediaries between women and the leaders of the Christian community; to visit pagan families where the entry of a deacon or priest would have been difficult or inappropriate; to be present at women’s meetings with the bishop, priests or deacons; to assist the bishop in administering baptism to women, and so on. But they were expressly forbidden to perform any liturgical function such as serving at the altar or preaching 7.

In short, for this Synod, faith is now just a question of experience – which means respecting the experience of other religions – and it is the “people of God” that now takes the place of the teaching Church.

Permanent democracy, a new Protestant Pentecost, these are the characteristics of this “sSynodal Church”, which has little to do with the Catholic Church instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, opposing its divine constitution, which gives authority to the Pope and, through him, to the bishops, successors of the Apostles, and not to the people.

The consequence can only be, in the long run, the dissolution of this conciliar Church, and its fragmentation into so many diocesan synods opposed to each other.

3. Everything Started
With the Second Vatican Council

It should be noted, however, that this outcome is not an innovation of Pope Francis. It all started with the Second Vatican Council.

The Constitution Lumen Gentium of November 21, 1964 introduced a new definition of the Church, now called the “People of God”.

The expression came from the new theology condemned by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani Generis, represented in particular by the Dominican fathers Chenu and Congar, whom Pope John XXIII had appointed as experts at the Council.

Archbishop Lefebvre considered this new conception to be extremely serious:

There is a new ecclesiology, that’s clear. […] In my opinion, it is exceptionally serious: just to be able to say that there could be a new ecclesiology. We are not the ones who make the Church, we did not make her, not the Pope, not the bishops, not history, not the councils. It was made by Our Lord. […] It does not depend on us. So how can we suddenly say: “Now, since Vatican II, there is a new ecclesiology”, and this is said by the Pope himself. It’s unbelievable 8.

The Constitution Lumen Gentium also insisted on the common priesthood of priests and faithful, a notion emphasised in the New Mass; while the rites of ordination of priests and consecration of bishops were modified to make it clearer that these ceremonies transmit a particular power 9.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law promulgated by John Paul II put all this into law, inverting the pyramid of the Church by placing lay people before clerics, and even allowing them – men and women – to enter the sanctuary during liturgical ceremonies:

The new Code of Canon Law, continued Archbishop Lefebvre, is an enterprise aimed at destroying the distinction between the priest and the layman. […] This is extremely serious. It is the ruin of the Church 10.

4. Reductive Groups and Governing Cores

Is the Holy Ghost really at work in this kind of synod? We may well doubt it. Not only because He cannot be present in an undertaking that seeks to overturn the divine structure of the Church, but also because his modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to the techniques of manipulation perfected by the Revolution and analysed in the 19th century by Augustin Cochin.

Adrien Loubier wrote a book about them in 1975, with a preface by Marcel de Corte, entitled Groupes réducteurs et noyaux dirigeants (Reductive groups and governing cores) 11. The book is useful for studying methods of revolutionary action in any environment (political, trade union, religious, etc.).

For example, get twelve people around a table to understand the need for change in the structure to which they belong.

Two basic principles will guide the discussions:

  • firstly, absolute freedom for the participants to say and think what they want. To each his own truth, his own convictions, his own opinion.

  • secondly is the equality of the deliberators. If one of them could impose his idea, his point of view or his experience, there would be no more freedom. It follows that there is no objective truth, only opinions.

The meeting naturally becomes a series of divergent presentations, of contradictory statements. This is generally referred to as a “round table” discussion.

How are we going to get through this jumble? It will be the role of the (experienced) facilitator to convince the group, in the name of fraternity, of the need to unite to form an average opinion, the result of opinions that are all equal. To achieve this, everyone must be prepared to give up something of their personal opinion. But if everyone has the common will to unite around this common opinion, the group will be that much stronger.

Around the table, the deliberators are now united by the (fictitious) need to draft their joint motion. The result is a mishmash of ideas and differing opinions, leading to a great deal of confusion. But unity is the order of the day. It is therefore necessary to agree on a basis that is likely to attract votes. Given the differences of opinion, the joint motion can only be a common minimum. This is what Augustin Cochin calls “the law of reduction”.

The participants are then led to abandon convictions that they now relegate to the rank of opinions.

And the process continues.

At the next meeting, some of the participants pointed out that certain points needed to be reconsidered, posing difficulties of application that complicate the problem. The confusion continued to grow. While further cuts were being made, a selection process was beginning to take place among the men:

  • the weakest personalities – the most numerous – will be completely disorientated, and ready for any reform or questioning, as long as a leader makes them believe that they are the expression of the general will; or else, disgusted, they will take refuge in absolute relativism. They are recycled.

  • a strong personality may refuse to get involved, defending the truth. If they don’t leave by slamming the door – a departure that the moderator will then comment on with scorn or mockery – they will be asked more or less politely to leave the group if they persist in staying and defending their position.

Rid of those who might block the system, the presenter will leave the floor to the servile talkers, devoid of convictions and doctrine, who will inevitably come forward. The system has its hacks. Together with the moderator, they will form the core group, the governing core, that will drive the group forward in the direction decided by the organisers from the outset. The final motion will be unproblematic and met with enthusiasm.

The system will have performed a veritable sociological brainwashing.

Is this how the Synodal discussions went?

In any case, we will see that the conclusions of the Synod were exactly what the Instrumentum laboris wanted them to be. The moderators worked well.

The democratic aspect seems to be nothing more than an appearance to make it easier to accept the revolutionary reforms decided in advance by Pope Francis.

5. Review of the October 2023 Synod

At the end of the Synod, a “Summary Report” was published. The various proposals that make up this Report were voted on by the members.

The ordination of married men and the diaconate of women did not attract enough votes for the moment.

But it is important to understand that the current text is not final. It will serve as a working instrument (Instrumentum laboris) for the Synod of October 2024, which itself will still need papal approval to have authority.

The text of the Report allows us to see where we are in the transformation of the Church.

  1. Changing structures

During the Synod, there was constant talk of “changing” structures.

This can be seen, for example, in proposal I, 1, e, which states that we must “tackle the structural conditions that have allowed abuses to occur”. This is mainly an allusion to pedophilia, which is used as a pretext to attack the hierarchical constitution of the Church as if it had something to do with it.

Let us quote II, 9, g:

The synodal process shows that it is necessary to renew relationships and make structural changes to welcome the participation and contribution of all.

It is the dissolution of the hierarchy in the “people of God”. The rest makes this clear.

2.Distribute the powers of the hierarchy
among all the members of the Church
3. Necessary reminder of Catholic doctrine

We quote from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, an expression of the centuries-old wisdom of the Church assisted by the Holy Spirit 12.

4.Divine origin of a clergy distinct from the laity (C. 107)

Of divine institution, there are clerics in the Church who are distinct from the laity, even if not all the ranks of the clergy are of divine institution.

5.Definition of clerkship (C. 108)

Those vowed to the sacred functions, at least by the first tonsure, are called clerics.

The word cleric comes from the Greek “cleros”, which means first “lot” and then “share obtained by lot, inheritance”. Clerics are so called because they are “the Lord’s portion”, or because “the Lord is their portion”. At the tonsure ceremony, the psalm “Dominus pars hereditatis meae” is sung.

6.Notion of the sacred hierarchy (C. 108 § 3)

Of divine institution, the sacred hierarchy:

as founded on the power of order, is composed of bishops, priests and ministers;

as founded on the power of jurisdiction, is made up of all those who have received the power to govern the faithful. It comprises the supreme pontificate and the subordinate episcopate. Other levels have been added to the ecclesiastical institution.

The hierarchy of order is made up of all the clerics who are vested with the power to celebrate the holy mysteries of religion.

The hierarchy of jurisdiction is made up of all those who have been given the power to govern the faithful, either by teaching them or by enacting or applying laws or precepts.

Magisterium is a part of jurisdiction because it is founded not only on knowledge of doctrine, but also on the authority to teach, which is not possessed by all indiscriminately, but was given by Our Lord to the Apostles and their successors: “Go and teach all nations” (Mt 28:19); “O Timothy, guard the deposit” (I Tim 6:20).

7.Differences between the power to order and the power of jurisdiction
8.Purpose

– The power of order is primarily a sacramental power.

Its object is above all the sacrament of the Eucharist, then the other sacraments by way of consequence; secondarily it refers to the acts of worship themselves and to the sacramentals (Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas, II-II q. 39, a. 3).

– The power of jurisdiction is concerned with government and teaching.

9.Origin

– The power of order comes from God.

– The power of jurisdiction comes from the ecclesiastical superior (except the power of the Supreme Pontiff).

10.Method of conferral

– Order is conferred by ordination.

– Except for the jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff, which comes from Our Lord, jurisdiction comes from the ecclesiastical superior. This is known as the ‘canonical mission’. By canonical mission we mean the deputation given to govern the faithful, in the name of the authority, with the assignment of specific flocks and territory. This is known as ordinary jurisdiction.

In the current crisis, because of the state of necessity in which souls find themselves, there is a jurisdiction without an assigned territory, which is given by the Code on a case-by-case basis according to the needs of the souls of the faithful. This is known as “supplied jurisdiction”. It is based on the General Norms of Canon Law, which state that the first law in the Church, to which all other laws are ordered, is the salvation of souls.

In order to acquire ecclesiastical jurisdiction, it is necessary 1) by divine law to be baptised; 2) by ecclesiastical law, to be of the male sex, enrolled in the clergy, at least as a general rule, and not to be subject to any censure by the Church.

It is not impossible for the Supreme Pontiff to entrust some ecclesiastical jurisdiction to a lay person. However, it is certain that today women cannot validly acquire ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as the Pope never grants such a dispensation. This incapacity is at least of ecclesiastical law; several authors maintain that it is of divine law.

11.Extension

The power of order cannot, in substance, be taken away or limited (a priest always remains a priest, even in Hell, because his soul has received an indelible character); but in its exercise it can be suspended or limited by the ecclesiastical authorities.

12.Communicability

– The power of order can never be communicated to another person in its substance (C. 210): one must have been ordained to be a priest!

– Jurisdiction can be communicated to another, either in its exercise, or sometimes even in its initial grant.

13.Admission to the hierarchy (C. 109)

Those who are admitted to the ecclesiastical hierarchy are not admitted by the people or by civil authority, but by sacred ordination for the power of order, and by canonical mission for the power of jurisdiction.

14.The Bergoglian revolution, the culmination of Vatican II

Let us now look at the conclusions of the Synod 13:

  1. Magisterial power

The consensus of the faithful constitutes a sure criterion for determining whether a particular doctrine or practice belongs to the apostolic faith (I, 3, c).

This is the “people of God” that becomes the teaching Church.

In his address to the Synod on October 26th, during the 18th General Congregation, Pope Francis made a point of expressing his full support for this proposal:

I like to think of the Church as that simple and humble people who walk in the presence of the Lord, the faithful people of God. […] One of the characteristics of this faithful people is its infallibility; yes, it is infallible in credendo, (“In credendo falli nequit”, says Lumen Gentium nr. 12) infaillibilitas in credendo. […]

An image comes to mind: the faithful people gathered at the entrance to Ephesus Cathedral. History, or legend, tells us that the people on either side of the street towards the cathedral, as the bishops entered in procession, repeated in chorus ‘Mother of God’, asking the hierarchy to declare dogma this truth that they already possessed as the people of God. Some say that they had sticks in their hands and showed them to the bishops. I don’t know if this is a story or a legend, but the image is good. […] We, members of the hierarchy, come from this people and have received the faith of this people, generally from their mothers and grandmothers, “your mother and your grandmother”, says Paul to Timothy, a faith transmitted in the female dialect 14.

Pope Francis is rewriting history to suit him. It was not before the proclamation of the dogma of the divine motherhood that the people of Ephesus went to the cathedral to persuade the bishops (with sticks?) to define this article of faith; but after they had learned the definition, and to acclaim them. This can be found in any history of the Church. There is no shortage of books in the Vatican 15.

As for the sense of faith, sensus fidei, it does exist in the faithful, caused both by the light of faith itself (II-II q. 1, a. 4, ad. 3) and by the Holy Ghost, by the gift of knowledge, when the faithful are in a state of grace (II-II q. 9, a. 1, ad. 1). This sense of faith enables him to recognise whether or not a doctrine conforms to the teaching of the magisterium. But it is not he who dictates to the magisterium what it should teach!

2.Power of jurisdiction

During the Synod, clericalism was repeatedly presented as the cause of all the evil that is happening in the Church. Pope Francis condemned it in his address on 26 October 26th:

When ministers exaggerate in their service and mistreat the people of God, they disfigure the face of the Church with macho and dictatorial behaviour. […] Clericalism is a scourge, it is a plague, it is a form of worldliness that soils and damages the face of the Lord’s spouse.

The Synod makes it responsible for “abuses” (II, 9, f and II, 11, c). The remedy, for him, is therefore co-responsibility:

Co-responsibility is an essential element for synodality at all levels of the Church. […]

Structures and processes must be put in place, in forms to be legally defined, for the regular verification of the work of the bishop, with regard to the style of his authority, the financial administration of the goods of the diocese, the functioning of participative bodies and protection against all types of abuse (II, 12, j).

Usually, a bishop reports only to the Pope, or to the Superior General of a priestly institute that includes bishops (such as the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit: Archbishop Lefebvre had 60 bishops under his authority).

But even the Pope must be controlled:

An in-depth study is needed of how a renewed understanding of episcopacy within a synodal Church affects the ministry of the Bishop of Rome and the role of the Roman Curia. This question has significant implications for the way in which co-responsibility is lived in the Church (II, 12, j).

As the Synod included women, the following claim is made in the final document:

There is an urgent need to ensure that women are able to participate in the decision-making process, and to take on roles of responsibility in pastoral work and ministry (II, 9, m).

We propose that properly trained women should be able to serve as judges in all canonical processes’ (II, 9, r) 16.

3.Order Power: new encroachments

+ The new Code of Canon Law had already limited the exercise of the power of Order 17:

– tonsure, minor orders and the subdiaconate have been abolished, the minor orders having been replaced by ‘ministries’ that lay people can exercise;

– lay men and women may preach in churches and distribute Holy Communion, and women may serve Mass.

+ But the Synod still limits the power of Order, within the jurisdiction hitherto attributed to it by the Church. It was normal for the power of government and teaching to be entrusted to those who, through the clerical state and above all the priesthood, are placed above the faithful. From then on, everything changed:

Baptism is the principle of synodality” (1, 7, b), which means that “all the baptised are co-responsible for the mission, each according to his or her vocation, experience and competence: all therefore contribute to imagining and deciding the stages of reform of Christian communities and of the Church as a whole” (III, 18, a), “even non-Catholics” [i.e. Protestants!] (1, 7, b).

This is the consequence of the confusion between clerics and laity, the promotion of the laity, and indifferentist ecumenism, introduced by the Council and enacted by the 1983 Code.

Conclusion

It is no more and no less than a “reformation” of the Catholic Church in the Protestant way which is a destruction of the divine constitution of the Church.

1ORLF, 27 April 2023, p. 1.

2 — Father Réginald-Marie Rivoire, Le motu proprio Traditionis custodes, Poitiers, DMM, 2022, p. 93.

3 — A very well-documented study of this affair, with all the sources and references, appeared in Rivarol, n° 3499 to 3503, article by T-A Lechevalier.

4 — “If the seminarians at Ecône are of good will and seriously prepared for a priestly ministry in true fidelity to the conciliar Church, we will then find the best solution for them” (Letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, 25 June 1976).

5 — ‘Des profondeurs de nos cœurs ’, published by Fayard in January 2020.

6Nothing but the truth. My life with Benedict XVI.

7 — See the article “Deaconesses” in the Dictionary of Catholic Theology.

8 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Conference of 17 March 1986 at Ecône (in CD no. 2 “La sainte Eglise”, published by Ecône. See the article ‘ Vatican II mis en code de lois: le nouveau Code de 1983 ’ published in Le Sel de la terre 120, Spring 2022, in particular pages 39 to 49.

9 — See the article “La validité des sacrements réformés par Paul VI”, in Sel de la terre 124, Spring 2023, especially pages 133 to 136.

10 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Conference at Ecône, 4 March 1984. You can read the article “Vatican II mis en code de lois : le nouveau Code de 1983” published in two parts in Le Sel de la terre 120, spring 2022, and 123, winter 2022-2023.

11 — The book is published by Editions Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, and has been reprinted several times.

12 — See Raoul Naz’s Traité de Droit canonique, Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1946, vol. 1, pp. 260 ff.

13 — We have consulted the references given by fsspx.news on 14 November 2023.

14ORLF 44, of Tuesday 31 October 2023, p. 4.

15 — An account of the popular enthusiasm can be found in Dom Guéranger’s L’Année liturgique, on 9 February 9th, the feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

16 — Compare this with the traditional canonical discipline referred to above.

17 — For further details, see the article “Vatican II put into a code of laws, The new Code of Canon Law (1983)”, Le Sel de la terre 124, Spring 2023, p. 66 ff.

Validity of the Sacraments Reformed by Paul VI

Validity of the Sacraments Reformed by Paul VI

Article published in Le Sel de la Terre 124, Spring 2033

Dominicans of Avrillé

 

On June 30, 1988, in his episcopal consecration sermon, Archbishop Lefebvre pronounced these words:

All these seminarians here present, if tomorrow the good Lord calls me back, from whom will they receive the sacrament of Holy Orders? Conciliar bishops whose sacraments are all dubious because we don’t know exactly what their intentions are? This is not possible. […] So I cannot in good conscience leave these seminarians orphans by disappearing without doing anything for the future.”1

These are serious remarks. They beg the question: on what grounds does Archbishop Lefebvre base his assertion that the sacraments of modernist bishops and priests are all dubious?

A letter written to an American correspondent on the following October 28 gives us some clues to the answer. Archbishop Lefebvre spoke of priests ordained according to the new rite:

I agree with your desire to conditionally reorder these priests, and I have done so many times. All the sacraments of modernist bishops and priests are dubious now, because the rites are more and more modified and their intentions are no longer Catholic. We are in the age of the great apostasy.”2

 

General Considerations:

The Danger of Changing the Law

Even if it could be shown that the changes introduced into the sacraments are a better formula in themselves, this would not justify their introduction.

Saint Thomas Aquinas notes the danger of change in any law:

The mere modification of the law is in itself a kind of detriment to the common good. The reason for this is that, to ensure the observance of laws, habituation plays a key role. […] This is why, when there is a change in the law, the force of constraint diminishes to the very extent that custom has disappeared (I-II, q. 97, a. 2).

Saint Thomas concludes that the law should only be changed in cases of “very great and obvious utility”, or “extreme necessity”. This was definitely not the case.

Here, we’re dealing with immemorial rites, and their modification necessarily introduces disorder and disquiet.

Such changes would only be beneficial if the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages.

But, in fact the modifications are disadvantageous, because they were made under the influence of modernism, introducing ambiguities and finally doubts about their validity.

 

Rites Have Been Modified Under the Influence of Modernism

The rites of all the sacraments have in fact been changed in an ecumenical spirit, so that they no longer clearly express what the Church intends to do in administering them. Thus, the master builder of the new Mass, Father Bugnini, wrote:

The Church has been guided by the love of souls and the desire to do everything possible to facilitate the path of union for our separated brothers and sisters, removing any stone that could constitute even the shadow of a risk of stumbling or displeasure.3

Six Protestant pastors were then invited to participate in the drafting of the new Mass. It has been argued that they were merely observers, and did not participate in the drafting. This is not true. Bishop Baume, responsible for ecumenical affairs of the Mexican bishops’ conference, in an interview published by the Detroit News on June 27, 1967, said of the pastors:

They are here not just as observers, but also as experts. They participate fully in discussions on Catholic liturgical renewal. It wouldn’t make much sense if they just listened. But they contribute.4

The resulting ambiguity is considerable. Cardinals Ottaviani (former secretary of the Holy Office) and Bacci, for example, were able to write about the new Mass:

The new Ordo Missae […] departs impressively, both overall and in detail, from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as formulated at the XXth session of the Council of Trent, which, in definitively fixing the “canons” of the rite, raised an insurmountable barrier against any heresy that might undermine the integrity of the mystery.5

In the newspaper Le Monde of October 3, 1984, Pastor Viot wrote, following the relative permission to celebrate the traditional Mass granted by Pope John Paul II:

The reintroduction of the Pius V Mass is much more than a matter of language: it’s a doctrinal issue of the utmost importance. Many of our ancestors in the Reformed faith, according to the Word of God, preferred to be burnt at the stake than to hear this type of Mass. Therefore, we were pleased with the decisions of Vatican II on this matter and with Rome’s firmness toward those who would not submit to the Council and continued to use a Mass that we considered contrary to the Gospel.

The result was that Protestants didn’t convert, most Catholics stopped practicing, and many of those who continued to practice now have a Protestant mentality, if they haven’t lost their faith. The same can be said of priests and bishops.

 

Doubtful Intentions Due to Ambiguous Rites

Before the conciliar reforms, the (subjective and difficult to discern) question of the intention of sacramental ministers was never asked. The traditional rites expressed the Church’s doctrine so clearly that the mere fact that they were used did not cast doubt on the validity of the sacraments:

When someone, in order to confer or administer a sacrament, seriously and regularly uses the required matter and form, it is considered, by this very fact, that he has manifestly wished to do what the Church does. This principle underpins the doctrine that there is a real sacrament even when it is conferred by the ministry of a heretic or a non-baptized Catholic, provided it is according to the Catholic rite.6

Saint Thomas Aquinas, examining this question, adds the following clarification: “provided that neither the minister nor the subject outwardly manifest a contrary intention” (III, q. 64, a. 8, ad 2 in fine).

Since the reformed rites express an ambiguous doctrine open to misinterpretation, there is now doubt as to the validity of their administration, insofar as the ministers, imbued with the new ecclesiology of Vatican II, may have an intention formally opposed to that of the Catholic Church. We might add that we are now 35 years on from the judgment formulated by Archbishop Lefebvre, and that the situation in the Church has deteriorated even further since then.

Even if doubt grows with time, it cannot be asserted that the Reformed sacraments are per se invalid. Archbishop Lefebvre never said this, and even fought against this conclusion, which has no theological foundation.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the seven sacraments.

 

The Seven Sacraments

Baptism

Material and form remain unchanged.

However, the exorcisms have been abolished. This does not invalidate baptism, but it does deprive the child of the protection against the devil that the Church still deems necessary.

It is therefore necessary to complete baptisms with exorcisms, especially for children.

However, there are more and more invalid baptisms, not because the priest doesn’t have the faith – let’s repeat that – but because many priests don’t think that the rubrics must be fulfilled seriously for the sacrament to be valid: most priests no longer baptize on the forehead but on the head, but sometimes the water does not touch the skin when the hair is abundant; some say the words and ask the godmother to pour the water; others change the form by saying “we baptize you”, because they think that it is the community that baptizes (many cases have been discovered, and declared invalid by today’s Rome), etc. It has become necessary to question people coming from the conciliar Church about their baptism.

Confirmation

The form of the sacrament has been changed, taken from a valid Eastern rite. It’s unusual, but doesn’t change anything in terms of validity. However, there may be some doubt about the translation of these words into the vernacular. They must express the grace of the sacrament sufficiently for it to be valid. This is not always the case.

The material for the sacrament of Confirmation is olive oil, blessed by the bishop. The 1917 Code of Canon Law refers only to this oil (C. 734 § 2). Our Lord, in his agony in the Garden of Olives, sanctified these olive trees with the sweat of his blood. Moreover, olive oil is the true substance that corresponds to the character of oil. All other oils are substitutes. However, Pope Paul VI and the new Code of Canon Law (C. 847 § 1) allow the use of oils from “other plants”, which was always considered a cause of invalidity by all theologians until Vatican II:

The use of olive oil is not only an ecclesiastical precept, but is required for the value of the sacrament. Everyone teaches this. So, confirmation would be invalid if petroleum oil, walnut oil, etc. were used.7

Since we cannot know which oil has been used, it is legitimate and necessary to conditionally reconfirm those who have received confirmation in the new rite.

The Eucharist

As the ambiguity of the new rite is extreme (see above), the number of Masses invalidated by formal opposition to the Church’s intention continues to grow. To this must be added the deficient training of future priests in the new seminaries. Archbishop Lefebvre said that even Rome today is incapable of training Catholic priests.

Penance

Instead of: ” I absolve you of your sins “, the new form (in French) is: ” I forgive you your sins “. The word “ absolve “, which means “to remit sins, to give absolution” is the correct term: to forgive is too broad, since one man can forgive another man, only God can absolve (and the priest who acts in his name). But this probably has no effect on validity, since priests who confess use the word “forgive” in the sense of “absolve”.

In addition, most conciliar priests have lost the true notion of sin, so that they confess less and less, and don’t know how to give the necessary advice. They have received no serious training in moral theology in the new seminaries.

As for the practice of collective absolutions, which became widespread after the Council, it only obtains the erasure of venial sins.

Extreme Unction

For validity, the material is the same as for confirmation: olive oil blessed by the bishop. The same remarks can be made here as above.

While the new form still signifies the strength given to the sick and the remission of sins effected by this sacrament, the liturgy of Extreme Unction has been considerably reworked. In particular, the anointing of the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth and feet has been abolished. Only the forehead and hands remain. This does not affect validity, since anointing the forehead is sufficient (for example, in an emergency), but it does remove the significance of anointing to obtain remission of sins caused by the senses.

More serious is the now-general custom of conferring the sacrament of Extreme Unction on all elderly people in the parish or in retirement homes who are not in imminent danger of death. The 1917 Code of Canon Law states the following about this sacrament:

Extreme Unction may only be administered to the faithful who, having had the use of reason, find themselves in peril of death as a result of illness or old age (C. 940).

If there is not at least one doubt about the peril of death, the sacrament is invalidly conferred. Collective absolution would only be permissible in the event of imminent peril of death: shipwreck, soldiers mounting an assault, and so on.

Marriage

For there to be matrimonial consent, the contracting parties must at least be aware that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman, which serves to procreate children (C. 1082 § 1, 1917 Code).

As it is the spouses who are the ministers of the sacrament, and no specific formula is required on their side to exchange their consents, it is sufficient that in expressing it, they intend to contract a true marriage, for it to be valid; provided, of course, that they have no impediments.

Orders

a. The new ritual for the ordination of priests

+ Changes of form

The two changes affecting the form are (in the original Latin text)8:

1. – Deleting a “ut”.

This gives: “Pour into their souls the spirit of holiness, may they obtain from you the office of second merit“. (i.e. priestly character); instead of: “Pour into their souls the spirit of holiness in order that they may obtain from you the office of second merit” (translation of the traditional formula). The new expression better expresses the power given, which is distinct from the spirit of holiness.

2. The second change consists in a dative his famulis instead of an accusative in hos famulos. Priestly grace is given to the ordinands, rather than in them. However, it should be noted that in the editions of the Roman Pontifical published by the Vatican presses (the typical 1968 edition and the second of 1990), we find the old formula “in hos famulos“, the correction being made both in the text of the Constitution Pontificalis Romani printed at the head of the Pontifical and in the texts of the prayers to be sung or recited.9

The new Latin form is almost identical to the old one, especially in the edited Pontifical, so we see no reason to doubt the validity of the form.

However, it would be necessary to verify how the ceremony is actually performed, generally in the vernacular, with varying degrees of fantasy.

+ Removal of Rites Signifying the Effect of the Sacrament

On the other hand, although the words essential to validity remain, they have unfortunately been removed:

1. for the anointing of the hands of the new priest with the Holy Oils, the words “consecration” and “sanctification“;

2. the rite of porrection (touching) of the chalice and paten with mention of the power to celebrate Mass for the living and for the dead;

3. the rite of unfolding the chasuble towards the end of the ceremony, with the words: “Sins will be forgiven to those to whom you forgive them“.

These deletions cannot be innocent. They betray the desire not to offend Protestants by manifesting too clearly the powers of the priest. They also reflect the new conception of the priesthood, stemming from the new ecclesiology of Vatican II, where the distinction between the priesthood of the priest and that of the faithful is very blurred. The new rites therefore tend to avoid references to the transmission of personal powers, and insist on the notions of presidency and principality over the ecclesiastical community, hence the above deletions.

In 1990, Mgr Vilnet, then President of the French Episcopal Conference, wrote in the Bulletin des vocations du diocèse de Paris (no. 233): “Priestly ordination does not transmit the priesthood, but simply the transmission of the mission”. We can seriously question the validity of ordinations conferred with such an intention, formally opposed to that of the Church.

b. The New Ritual for the Consecration of Bishops

+ Probably A Valid Rite

In a study published in the Spanish edition of the journal Si Si No No, Father Alvaro Calderón (SSPX), professor of theology at the Seminary of La Reja (Argentina), concludes that the new rite is very probably valid10. Although its authors based their reform on the Traditio Apostolica, an ancient document that does not belong to any particular Eastern or Western liturgical tradition, it is essentially identical with the rites of the Coptic Catholic and Syrian Maronite Churches, which have given the Church great saints: St. Athanasius and St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. John Chrysostom and St. Jerome. We can also add Saint Maroun, Saint Charbel and various others.

+ A Certainly Illegitimate Rite

In the same study, however, Father Calderón notes that the new rite of episcopal consecration cannot have the force of law in the Church (which is what is meant by the word “illegitimate”):

The new rite that Paul VI intended to promulgate with his apostolic constitution Pontificalis Romani is certainly illegitimate for two reasons: firstly, because no pope has the authority to abrogate the Roman liturgical tradition, and even less to invent a rite at odds with the entire Catholic tradition; secondly, because the contagion of modernist doctrines renders it harmful to the faith, and a determination contrary to the common good of the Church cannot have the force of law.

+ A Rite Without the Guarantees of Either the Ordinary or the Extraordinary Magisterium

This new rite does not have the guarantee of the Church’s universal ordinary magisterium, since it is based on the Traditio apostolica (supra), which does not belong to any particular liturgical tradition. And it does not have the guarantee of the extraordinary magisterium. Although Paul VI took up the expression “supreme apostolic authority” used by Pius XII in his constitution Sacramentum ordinis (DS 3859), Abbé Calderón makes the following remark:

Since the Council and Ecclesiam suam, this expression no longer has the same meaning as it did for Pius XII, and hierarchical acts no longer offer us the assurance of divine authority. What’s more, the new Roman liturgical prescriptions are no more than a framework to be taken into account for liturgical inculturation in each place. If we wanted complete peace of conscience, we’d have to ask the Pope for an infallible declaration for each of the vernacular versions of the sacramental forms (p. 5).

CONCLUSION

Necessity of Conditional Re-ordinations and Re-Consecrations

Let’s quote Father Calderón’s conclusion, which seems self-evident:

The positive and objective defects from which this rite suffers, which prevent us from being certain of its validity [since it is only probably valid] seem to us – until a Roman sentence, by which many things should change – to justify and make necessary the conditional re-ordination of priests consecrated by new bishops and, if necessary, the conditional re-consecration of these bishops. It is not possible to suffer such uncertainties at the very root of the sacraments (p. 6-7).

 

 

 

1 Msgr LEFEBVRE, Extract from the episcopal consecration sermon of 30 June 1988, Fideliter, July/August 1988, p. 6).

2 Msgr LEFEBVRE, Letter of 28 October 1988 to Mr Wilson. Published in Le Sel de la terre 98, p. 216-217.

3 D C 1445 (1965), col. 604.

4 The same was true during the Second Vatican Council. For example, Pastor Wilhem Schmidt claimed authorship of the expression susbistit in [the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church] in the Lumen gentium constitution on the Church. He had suggested it to Cardinal Frings through Abbé Ratzinger (Catéchisme catholique de la crise dans l’Église, by Abbé Gaudron, no. 29, Editions du Sel, 2014).

5 Preface to: A Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae.

6 LÉO XIII, Lettre Apostolicae curae caritatis of 13 September 1896, on the invalidity of Anglican ordi-nations, DS 3318.

7 P. Prümmer O.P., Manuale Theologiae Moralis, Friburgi Brisgoviae, Herder, 1933, vol. III, no. 154.

8 Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Pater, his famulis tuis Presbyterii dignitatem; innova in visceribus eorum Spiritum sanctitatis; acceptum a te, Deus, secundi meriti munus obtineant, censuramque morum exemplo suae conversationis insinuent. According to the Constitution Pontificalis Romani of 18 June 1968, published in AAS 1968, p. 373, and in Notitiæ July-August 1968, p. 212.

9 So we have two versions (!!!) of the Constitution Pontificalis Romani: the one published in the AAS and the Notitiæ, and the one published in the Pontifical. The same cacophony was observed with the publication of the new Mass.

10 Fr. Calderón, « Si las consagraciones episcopales reformadas por Pablo VI son válidas », Si Si No No 267, november 2014.

Sermon of Bishop Gerardo Zendejas for the Priestly Ordination of Fr. Eymeric Blanchet SAJM

Dear Superior General of the Society of the Apostles of Jesus and Mary, Your Excellency Bishop Faure,

Your Excellency Bishop Williamson,

My dear confreres in the priesthood, dear religious,

My dear friends…

All of us have come here, to Avrillé, to witness today this Catholic ceremony for the continuation of the true, royal and propitiatory priesthood that Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles to transmit to their apostolic successors, under the Primacy of Saint Peter, Vicar of Christ, throughout the centuries until the consummation of the world. “And the eleven disciples – says Saint Matthew – went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but SOME DOUBTED. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (St. Mathew,  28, 16- 20)

Indeed, we are here to honor Archbishop Lefebvre, our venerable Founder, for the great example he left us in preserving the Catholic priesthood expressed in the Roman Rite, in spite of the sinister darkness spread by the churchmen of the Second Vatican Council. These leaders are still waging a bitter war against Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, and against anybody who wants to be a soldier of Christ and fight for the Kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.

In fact, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, as successor of the Apostles did not fail to do what he was commanded to do – Archbishop Lefebvre is, PAR EXCELLENCE, THE PRELATE who preserved the essential magnitude of the Catholic priesthood at the end of the twentieth century, not only by transmitting the authentic mark of  Apostolicity in the Catholic Church by the Episcopal Consecrations of June 30th 1988, but also for keeping the complete integrity in the Deposit of the Faith, expressed in the doctrine of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by the propitiatory element of atonement for the remission of sins, which Our Lord Jesus Christ offered to His eternal Father by His crown of thorns from the Cross as conquering throne. 

So, my simple words today mean to sound like an echo of reverberations through a valley, so that they might bring back to our mind the heroic testimony left by Archbishop Lefebvre. I would like to recall in particular the words of three of his sermons:

The first, on that occasion the 1976 Ordinations in which Archbishop Lefebvre spoke about how a priest participates in the grace of Union in Our Lord Jesus Christ and why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass must be monarchical and not democratic. 

The second, on the celebration of his golden priestly jubilee in 1979, when he launched a Crusade for clergy and laity for the purpose to continue the Holy the Mass of always.

The third, on the occasion of the Mass in Lille on August 29, 1976, when Archbishop Lefebvre declared, not only that the devil is the Father of Lies – the Father of Error – but also that Error and truth are not compatible. He also mentioned three errors of the conciliar church, namely: the fact that it engaged in a dialogue with Protestants to produce the bastard new mass and bastards sacraments; the fact that it promoted an abominable dialogue with Freemasons and Communists, to build a bastard union of confusion; the fact that it rejected the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the pretext that it is no longer possible.

In addition, we are here today to congratulate His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson on the 35th anniversary of his episcopal consecration, and wish him more years to come – Ad Multos Annos! Thank you for sharing that marvelous gift of knowledge composed in master strokes of the pen that, when read, sound like a harmonious melody running in a natural waterfall. Thank you for transmitting your tremendous conviction in eternal Truth, for your love to the only Savior of the world – Our Lord Jesus Christ, when speaking with eloquence throughout your conferences, speeches, and sermons… Perhaps for certain people your words might sound as “a scandal,” for others they might seem “foolish”, but for many, very many others your words are a voice crying out in the wilderness of the modern ungodly world… May the Mother of God, the Madonna who watched over you from above the gate of Winchester School in England, keep you always under her maternal mantle to preserve you from any attack of evil-doers. So, we are glad to be here with Your Excellency for this celebration – Deo Gratias! As Saint Paul said: “Let a man so look upon us as the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful.” (1Cor. 4, 1- 2)

And last but not the least, we are here – my dear abbé Blanchet, to rejoice with all your family, and to congratulate your dearly beloved Father and Mother for their perseverance in saying the evening prayers every night together at home. In truth, “a family that prays together, stays together.” Doubtless to say that the presence of many relatives and friends, who have come to attend your priestly ordination, is a demonstration of trust and a charitable support they have shown you throughout your way to the Catholic priesthood: all those teachers that Divine Providence has placed on your life, like your music teacher who will enhance this ceremony, and all the members of the Dominican Community here… all want to thank God for the merciful gift of your priestly vocation. May you be found faithful to it until the last breath of your life…

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So, my dear friends, just as before the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven “some [bishops] doubted,” and since then, many other bishops have also doubted in their duties throughout the centuries. Even more, today’s bishops have lost their grip on reality and objective Faith, so that they live an electronic-subjective way of life  in the atheist modern world, with all materialistic comforts and with a gnostic understanding of life and death.

 That’s why there are many Christians torn apart in their families, in their homes, among their children. Many of us are torn in our heart by the divisions in the Church, provoked by this new religion being taught and practiced since Vatican II… Indeed, charity has grown cold, and people have lost the love of Truth. The whole world believes more in the Internet than in the Bible, which is why Saint Paul said: “…and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish: because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying.” (2 Thessal,  2, 10)

Living in a convulsive world of war, famine and pests, it is unbelievable to hear that the Synodal Church is preaching a “new evangelization” about everything, but not about the Holocaust of Christ on Calvary. One might ask to oneself, when will the day that the Vicar of Christ will turn back to lead all nations to Tradition as it has always been believed everywhere, and by all?

When Archbishop Lefebvre was asked this question, he responded: “[…] when Rome crowns Our Lord Jesus Christ as King, once again. We cannot have an agreement with those who have uncrowned Our Lord. The day when they will once again recognize and acknowledge Our Lord to be King of all peoples and nations, then it will not be we whom they have joined, but rather the Catholic Church, in which we have been dwelling and remaining.” (AL, Flavigny, December 1988, Fideliter #68, p 16)

While waiting for the conversion of the modern pagan Rome and the abolition of human slavery which is the fruit of the Globalist Agenda, in today’s world, what can a Catholic priest do?

In this perspective, let us listen to the preaching of the Eminence of Poitiers, the venerable Cardinal Pie, who is well-known for having taught the perennial doctrine of Jesus Christ’s rights to govern individuals, families and nations, and for having proclaimed His royal rights over the international laws of nations. We should read and re-read the abundant wisdom contained in the writings of Cardinal Pie, who is the Master and Doctor in the doctrine of the Kingship of Christ:

The main benefit to draw from error, heresy and from all oppositions which Truth will meet among men, is that the very same point that is particularly being denied and fought against, soon after there will be a light shed upon it and then it will be glorified.[…] Upon which topics religious writers – and most especially spiritual counselors and spiritual doctors of the nations – must concentrate their discussions, demonstrations and teachings? […] Well, observe from which side error is directing their attacks, its negations, its blasphemies. So, whatever is being attacked, denied, and blasphemed in each century or age, it is precisely in which it must be defended, affirmed, and repaired. Where sin abounds, grace most necessarily super-abound. So, against the darkening of spirits, against the increase of coldness in hearts, we must oppose an overflow of light, a fresh outbreak of love.” (Cardinal Pie, Third synodal instruction on the principal errors of the present age, July 1862 – August 1863, Complete Works, V, pages 36-37)

It is evident that, in attacking Our Lord Jesus Christ and Christendom, the enemies of God have concentrated their strategies to fight against Truth, against Authority, and against the Priesthood. Hence, let us summarize what a priest can do to defend Truth against Error, to uphold Authority in the face of anarchy and chaos, and to preserve the sacred priesthood against the profane ministry promoted by the Second Vatican Council.

Needless to say that a Catholic Priest is a principle of Order. A good Priest recapitulates everything in Christ the King. In so doing, he fosters the spiritual and temporal common good of families and of countries, because he is the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. But when a Priest fails in his duties, then he compromises with the three enemies of the soul: the world, the lust and the devil. As a matter of fact,  Corruptio optimi, pessima! (The corruption of the best, is the worst!) That’s why Don Bosco used to say that when a priest dies, he never goes alone, but with many people, either to heaven or to hell.

Therefore, on the day of his Ordination the Catholic Priest receives the power to become a principle of order in Spiritus Veritatis (in the Spirit of Truth), as Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded the Apostles to do. So, here are some words concerning this triple power.

The first is the power of teaching – potestas docendi. This power commands an unity in doctrine to learn and to practice the same Catholic religion among the clergy and laity. It is an unity in that Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all: “quod ubique, semper, et ab omnibus” (Communitorium, St. Vincent Lerin).

The second is the power of governing – potestas regendi. This power requires unity in hierarchy: Jesus Christ is Head of the Church, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ,  Bishops are the apostolic successors, Priests are other Christs, and faithfuls are the witnesses of eternal salvation. In this hierarchy, all power comes from God, as Saint Paul says, “Omnis potestas a Deo.”  (Rom. 13, 1)

The third is the power of sanctifying – potestas sanctificandi. This power is linked to an unity in Liturgy as the official way of Church worship by clergy and faithful. The law of prayer is indeed the law of Faith: lex credendi, lex orandi.

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1. The Power of Teaching: the Faith that has always been believed everywhere and by all

The lips of the priest – says the prophet Malachias – shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord. (Malach. 2, 7)

Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to Me,” said the prophet Osee. ( 4, 6)

Almighty God wants men to help Him save souls. He could have done this by other means. However Jesus Christ became man Himself , and He willed that some men become priests through the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, like His Apostles who were ready to convert the whole world, or like anyone of the priests here present, who are willing to convert the modern world for the greater glory of God and the eternal salvation of souls.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders constitutes the imposition of the bishop’s hands upon the head of the deacon as the Matter of the sacrament. For the sacramental Form are required the words of the Preface in the Rite of Ordination, which clearly express the bishop’s intention to do what has always been done in the Catholic Church, to  believe everywhere and by all.

Among his functions, a priest must faithfully teach the very Word of God to those who wish to be the children of God, instructing them through the Church Magisterium. Hence, he must believe in the two sources of divine Revelation, namely, the Holy Scripture and the Oral Tradition transmitted by the Apostles to their apostolic successors.

As the meaning of the word “apostle” requires, the priest must be sent to preach under the authority of a bishop. Archbishop Lefebvre said that “In consecrating his life to the apostolic ministry and since he continues the mission which Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled on earth, he is essentially sent as missionary.” (AL, June 29 1978). So, the priest is sent by God, under the authority of the Catholic Church in order to preach the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Seven Sacraments, the Our Father and other prayers, in order to lead his flock for their  eternal salvation.

During this ceremony, the Catholic Church says through the mouth of the bishop: “Agnosce quod agis, imita quod tractas,” that is, “Realize what you are doing. Imitate what you operate”. The priest must therefore believe that he dispenses God’s graces through the Sacraments which are the ordinary channels, instituted for that purpose by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is the priest’s duty to provide the proper MATTER, the correct FORM, and the right INTENTION of the sacraments, in order to validly administer them to his flock, and when needed to receive them himself alike. It would be a serious negligence, if a priest would not provide all that is needed for such a purpose, as it would be a negligence for a bishop who would not provide to his priests all what is needed for them to properly administer the sacraments to the faithful.

The most important duty is to re-actualize by his priestly ministry the same Sacrifice that Our Lord Jesus Christ made on the Cross at Calvary, in an un-bloody manner, under the species of bread and wine, so that he is bringing God from heaven down onto the altar for the eternal salvation of souls.

It is imperative to meditate on the grace in which this young priest is going to participate in the Catholic priesthood. It is not by the sanctifying grace which Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us through Baptism. It is by the grace of union – that grace of union unique to Our Lord Jesus Christ. For it is by His grace of union with the divinity of God, with the divinity of the Word, that Our Lord Jesus Christ became Priest, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is King, and by that Our Lord Jesus Christ is Judge. Truly, Our Lord Jesus Christ ought to be adored by all men because of this grace of union, which is a sublime grace! This grace from the divinity Itself, in a unique manner descended into His humanity in the fullness of time, anointing Our Lord Jesus Christ in a special manner, as the holy Oil descending on the head of the recipient, anoints the one who receives its unction. Our Lord Jesus Christ’s humanity was penetrated by the divinity of the Word of God, and thus He was made Priest and became Mediator between God and men.

Participating in that grace, the priest is a real mediator between God and men. In receiving the priestly ordination, a priest is not any longer like any other man; he is consecrated for God and separated from men. At Mass, for example, before turning to say “Dominus vobiscum”, the priest must kiss the altar in order to express his function of mediator between God and men, as a bridge between heaven and earth, uniting the prayers of the faithful to the sacrifice of the altar.

Also, it is important to note some of the accessory ceremonies of the priestly ordination in the Roman Rite:

Firstly, the bishop clothes the priest with a stole, crossing it over his chest to remind him of the Cross of Our Lord, and with a chasuble which symbolizes the submission a priest must have to the binding yoke of God’s Law through a life of sanctity and purity. 

Secondly, the bishop anoints the priest’s hands with the holy Oil of catechumens, binds them together, and in presenting him the chalice and paten, he says these words: receive the power to offer to God the Sacrifice, and to celebrate Mass for both the living and the dead.”

Thirdly, at the end of the ceremony, the bishop confers on the new priest the divine power to forgive sins when saying: “Receive the Holy Ghost, the sins you forgive they will be forgiven, and the sins you retain, they will be retained.

The above said priestly ceremonies are not contained in the new Rite of Ordination implemented after the Second Vatican Council. Perhaps these blessings are not by themselves necessary for the validity of the new Rite of Ordination, but their omission and the absence of any other liturgical expression do not clearly manifest the intention by which the bishop is ordaining the priest. Otherwise, the functions assigned to the priest in the new Rite could signify the bishop’s intentions, namely, to preside at the assembly of the people of God; to face the people when saying the New Mass; to remove the tabernacle from the center of the altar; to give Communion on the hand… These expressions are absolutely consistent with the fundamental mentality of modern man. The New Mass is not a hierarchical Mass instituted from above; on the contrary, it is a democratic Mass instituted from below, by the people, for the people and with the people. It is the expression of a man-centered cult, created by man who wants to make himself god.

Archbishop Lefebvre said concerning the New Mass: “The ideology of modern man has been brought into our most sacred Rites. This is why we think that we cannot accept the new Rite, which is the work of another ideology, or a new ideology.” (AL, June 29, 1976).

And again: “May seminarians, priests and bishops find the understanding of their priesthood in these few fundamental truths about the grace of union in Our Lord, and appreciate the sublimity of the heritage bequeathed to them, which must be the source of their sanctification and the source of their apostolate: the act of sacrifice.

Our Lord’s act of Sacrifice being the act which constitutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist – the life of Christ, Priest and Victim – must be the foundation of our interior life as well as of our ministry in giving Jesus to souls. This indissoluble union of the Sacrifice and the Sacrament which the Word Incarnate in His wisdom willed, is precisely what the Protestants reject and the innovators of Vatican II have in practice made it disappear by Ecumenism!” (AL, Spiritual Journey, p. 35)

It must be understood immediately that we do not hold to the absurd idea that if the New Mass is valid, we are then free to assist at it. The Church has always forbidden the faithful to assist at the Masses of heretics and schismatics, even when they are valid. It is clear that no one can assist at sacrilegious Masses or at Masses which endanger our faith. (AL, November 8, 1979)

God never abandons His Church; and so the number of priests will be always sufficient for the needs of the faithful, provided that the worthy priests remain faithful to the deposit of the Faith, and that those who profess heresy and who un-repentantly transgress the moral laws are removed from the ministry. As the fourth Ecumenical Lateran Council said, should it ever become impossible to maintain the present number of priests “it is better to have a few good priests than a multitude of bad ones.” (decree 27, De instructione ordinarum).

Therefore, dear abbé Blanchet:

Always, celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, knowing what Mass is and how to say it, following Archbishop Lefebvre’s example.

Never say Mass in a hurry, in less than 20 minutes, because it would scandalize the faithful, as Father Prümer says, then it would be a matter to go to confession.

Never say the New Mass.

Be faithful to the recitation of the Breviary everyday.

Preach the evangelical counsels of chastity, obedience, and poverty.

Be faithful to your total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray your daily rosary and beware of private revelations.

Because the priest is a principle of order, when preaching the Truth always, he should be supported by his Bishop and he will be faithful to his priesthood. Saint John says, “And this is eternal life that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ that Thou has sent.” (St John 17, 3)

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2. The power of governing: all power comes from God.

There cannot be priests without bishops, and no bishops without apostolic succession, and no Vicar of Christ without a successor of Saint Peter, and no Catholic Church without Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.” (Rom. 13,1) The superiors must provide for the doctrinal formation of their subjects, and not otherwise. How can priest pretend to hold authority in himself, if he would break the chain of command? At his ordination, the priest becomes “the lieutenant of Christ the King” for the purpose to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Is the traditional movement a rebellion to Authority? Was Archbishop Lefebvre against Church Authority? 

Resisting in the spirit of Truth, Archbishop Lefebvre preserved the Deposit of the Faith including the Papacy itself from the destructive danger formulated by the innovations of the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop Lefebvre himself explained the reasons for which one should resist a higher authority. “ […] What is the first principle to know what we must do in this circumstance, in this crisis in the Church? What is the principle?

This doctrine is expounded by Saint Thomas Aquinas. So what does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about the authority in the Church? When can we refuse something from the authority of the Church? PRINCIPLE: ‘Only when the Faith is in question.’ Only in this case. Not in other cases… Only when the Faith is in question… and that is found in the Summa Theologica (II II Q.33, a.4, ad 2m) […].” (AL, St. Them Aquinas Seminary, Ridgefield, 1983)

We resist and shall continue to resist, not in a spirit of contradiction or rebellion, but in a spirit of fidelity to the Church, of fidelity to God, to our Lord Jesus Christ, to all those who taught us our holy religion; by a spirit of fidelity to all the Popes who maintained Tradition. That is why we are determined quite simply to continue, to persevere in the Tradition which sanctified the saints who are rendering an immense service to all the faithful who wish to keep the faith and truly to receive the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (AL, Écône November 1, 1980)

Certainly, most traditional Priests and Bishops might agree on many doctrinal points. Perhaps we might have the same doctrine about the Catholic Church, about moral theology; and we might be ready to follow Saint Thomas Aquinas in his objective philosophy and in dogmatic theology… But when it comes to interpreting the present crisis in the Church today, and the future collapsing of the world… we might not have the same interpretation, the same thinking and understanding… Indeed, it is a big problem in which Divine Providence wants us to survive, as it was in that time when three Popes at the same time claimed to be THE REGNANT POPE, and whom Kings, Bishops, Priests and Faithful did defended and believed… and Christendom was divided. The history of Tradition today is a history of divisions! And today we Catholics are in the risk to fall into error, either by heresy or by schism. But as Archbishop Lefebvre said, we do not want to be heretic nor schismatic!

On the other hand, the Father of Lies is at work, coming again and again to divide in order to conquer. That’s why Pope Pius IX, wanting to warn us, allowed the publication of a book entitled The Roman Church and the Revolution, written by Crétineau-Joly (on February 25, 1861). Here is an interesting excerpt recording a conversation between two Freemason leaders: “…You want to establish the kingdom of the elects on the throne of the prostitute Babylon, in which the clergy follows under your standards, believing always that they walk under the standard of the apostolic keys… If you do not precipitate, we promise a catch more miraculous than his.’ The fisher man who catches fish becomes a fisher man to catch men. You will be surrounded by friends of the Apostolic Chair. You will preach a revolution by [Papal] Tiara and Cope walking under the banner and the standard of the cross, a revolution that needs nothing else but a spark to kindle a fire throughout the four corners of the world.

Under the same circumstances, let us remember the words of Our Lord to Saint Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (St Luke, 22, 31-32)

On this subject, Archbishop Lefebvre enlightened us with some wisdom: “In reality it is an extraordinary gift that God has made us in giving us the Pope, in giving us the successors of Peter, giving us precisely this perpetuity in truth communicated to us through the successors of Peter, that just be communicated to us through them. And it seems inconceivable that a successor of Peter could fail in any way to transmit the truth that he is obliged to transmit. Indeed, without virtually disappearing from the line of succession he cannot fail to communicate that which the Popes have always transmitted – the Deposit of the Faith which does not belong to him alone.

[…] And we cannot follow error nor change truth, just because the one, who is in charge of transmitting it, is weak and allows error to spread around him. We don’t want the darkness to encroach on us. We want to live in the light of truth. We remain faithful to that which has been taught for two thousand years. The same things that have been taught for two thousand years, and which is inconceivable, that what is part of eternity could be changed!

Because it is eternity which has been taught to us. It is eternal God, Jesus Christ eternal God, and everything which is centered on God is centered on eternity. The Blessed Trinity can NEVER be changed. The Redemptive work of Christ through the Cross can NEVER be changed, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can NEVER be changed. These things are eternal. They belong to God. How can someone her below change those things? Who is the priest who feels he has the right to change those things, to modify them? It is impossible!” (AL, Écône, September 1977)

Dear Abbé Blanchet, when you say the Mass of Always, some people might ask you: “Do you take care of all rubrics of 1962 Roman Missal with which you are being Ordained priest?”  You should respond: YES.

Some people might ask you: “Do you name Pope Francis in the Roman Canon of Mass?”  You should respond: YES.

As a Catholic Priest is a principle of monarchical order, he is the Lieutenant of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Royal Kingdom on earth, and according to his rank of authority, a Priest is sent by his bishop to proclaim the Kingship of Christ to his flock. Otherwise, it would be like a democratic priest, who chooses to say or not, to preach or not, his own personal kingdom.

So, the reason of these and other questions is because in following the 1955 Liturgical books, there are some priests who omit the rubric “una-cum-Francisco” at the Roman Canon of the Mass, or at the celebration of the Holy Week ceremonies. What one might think about purposely omitting the Pope’s name, as the schismatic and Protestant ministries do?

Indeed, all we Catholics must pray more than ever to the Good Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him to have mercy on His flock, on those sheep who want to believe with integrity in His evangelical message of eternal salvation, in the Mystery of Redemption through Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world, in the ark of salvation outside of which there is no salvation, the Catholic Church, which is the Ark of Saint Peter.

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3. The power of sanctifying: the law of prayer is the law of belief.

We know the axiom, the law of belief is fundamental to the law of prayer. In order to comprehend the dogma, it is important to keep the words and deeds performed by the Liturgy throughout all times. It is through the Liturgy that the Spirit who inspired the Holy Scripture, still works. The Liturgy is Tradition to its highest degree in power and solemnity in the Church.” (Dom Guéranger, Institution Liturgiques, part I, chapter 1, p.18)

It is very important to follow a principle of public and official prayer approved by the Tradition of the Catholic Church. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office (Breviary) are not private personal prayers for a priest because they are codified. The deliberate omission to pray the Breviary incurs the penalty of mortal sin(Canon 135). When a Catholic Priest prays the Breviary, as Dom Marmion says, by his lips he continues the praising of Our Lord Jesus Christ to His heavenly Father. We know that Our Lord constantly recited the 150 psalms attributed to King David, because it was the official prayer, under the Law of Moses, before the coming of the Messiah. Following that Tradition in the Catholic Church, we continue to recite the 150 Psalms as well as other prayers which commemorate the dogmas and mysteries of our Faith: These prayers were put together in particular by Saint Gregory the Great.

Nevertheless, There are some discrepancies among Traditional priests and faithful in regards to the law of praying and the law of believing, since the 1960s. From the very beginning, Archbishop Lefebvre took his decision in installing the 1962 Liturgy at Écône. The rejection of the 1962 Liturgical books has been the occasion of separations within the Society of Saint Pius X: three times these separations occurred in Écône (1975, 1979, 1981), twice in the USA (1983, 1984), once in Germany (1984), and once in Argentina (1989). And there are stil several separations due to lack of unity on the official public prayer of the Traditional Church.

Here are some words from Archbishop Lefebvre on this subject:

The liturgy of Écône is the liturgy that I myself have been using now for 20 years. It is a liturgy we use, more or less, everywhere in the Society. […]

So, these priests condemned it… and they condemned me… and they condemned Écône… How is this possible? […] That they condemned the bishop who gave them their ordination? When these priests were at Écône they accepted this liturgy; when they were ordained, they accepted during the years they were at Écône. When they left, they changed, and took another orientation. […]

Now, not only they dispute the liturgy but also about the Pope. They are in their hearts, against the fact that there is a Pope in Rome. […]

Certainly, we agree on many doctrinal points, these priests and I. We have the same doctrine about the Church, about theology, we follow Saint Thomas Aquinas in philosophy, in theology… But to interpret the situation of the Church now, we have not the same meaning, not the same thinking… This is very dangerous. […]

We must now do an application of the principle. For me I think that the liturgical reform of Pope John XXIII has nothing against the Faith. You can take the Pontifical, the Rituale, the Breviary, the Roman Missale, and what is in these books of Pope John XXIII against the Faith? Nothing! […]

In reality, this reform was done by Pope Pius XII, not Pope John XXIII. When I was Apostolic Delegate in Rome, they asked me to have Episcopal Conferences in Madagascar, in Cameroon, and in French speaking Africa, to ask the bishops about the reform of the breviary. […]

But these seven young priests said that seven men did this reform, and they were the same who did the reform of Paul VI. That is not true! Perhaps in the commission, it is possible that some of these men were there… Perhaps Bugnini was a member of this commission of Pius XII.

But you know that during the Pontificate of John XXIII, this Pope removed Msgr. Bugnini from his teaching post in the University of the Lateran. Pope John XXIII was against Bugnini. I knew the president of the Commission who did this reform, it was Msgr. De Matto, who was the Abbot of St. Paul outside the Walls… I know him very well and I spoke with him many times. He was the president of the Commission of reforming the liturgy under the Pontificate of John XXIII. It was under Paul VI that he was removed because he was traditionalist, and they replaced him by Msgr. Bugnini… that is true. But it is not true to say that this reform of Pope John XXIII is the beginning of the reform of Pope Paul VI. […]

So, I have said concerning this reform [1962] we must obey the Pope, especially since we have no reason to refuse it!” 

(AL, April 24, 1983, at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, in Ridgefield, CT)

After many discrepancies and departures of several priests from the Society of Saint Pius X, Archbishop Lefebvre required that all the candidates to Holy Orders should sign The Declaration of Fidelity, from April 11, 1981 until his death. In addition to the Declaration, there were required to say the Anti-modernist Oath and the Profession of Faith declared by Pius IX. Certainly, I myself signed and complied with these requirements throughout the reception of the major orders of subdiaconate, diaconate, and priesthood. 

The Declaration of Fidelity contains the UNITY OF THE THREE POWERS  which a Priest receives on the day of his Ordination: it affirms one Faith, one Head, one Liturgy – it confirms the Truth, the Authority and Public priestly Liturgical Prayer under which the candidate is ordained priest in the Catholic Church.

Here is the Declaration of Fidelity in its entirety:

“[For unity of government]

I, the undersigned, __N.N._______ recognize _Pope’s name_ as Pope of the Holy Catholic Church. That is why I am ready to pray publicly for him as Sovereign Pontiff. 

[For unity of faith ]

I refuse to follow him when he departs from the Catholic Tradition, especially in the questions of religious liberty and ecumenism, as also in the reforms which are harmful to the Church.

I grant that Masses celebrated according to the New Rite are not all invalid. However, considering the bad translations of the Novus Ordo Missae, its ambiguity favoring its being interpreted in a Protestant sense, and the plurality of ways in which it can be celebrated, I recognize that the danger of invalidity is very great. I affirm that the New Rite of Mass does not, it is true, formulate any heresy in an explicit manner, but that it departs “in a striking manner overall as well as in detail, from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass”, and for this reason the New Rite is in itself bad. That is why I shall never celebrate the Holy Mass according to this New Rite, even if I am threatened with ecclesiastical sanctions; and I shall never advise anyone in a positive manner to take an active part in such a Mass.

[For unity of Liturgy]

Finally, I admit as being legitimate the liturgical reform of John XXIII. Hence, I take all the (1962) liturgical books from it to be Catholic: the Roman Missale, the Breviary, the Pontificale and the Rituale; and I bind myself to make exclusive use of them according to their calendar and rubrics, in particular for the celebration of Mass and for the recitation in common of the Breviary. In doing this I desire to show the obedience binding me to my superiors, as also the obedience binding me to the Roman Pontiff in all his legitimate acts.

CONCLUSION

Dear Abbé Blanchet, if you celebrated Mass and prayed your Breviary, according to the rubrics of 1955, it would certainly be a valid Mass and you would conform to the recitation of the Breviary, but you would most certainly be moving away from the spirit and attitude of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre concerning his understanding of the crisis within the Catholic Church, as well as for his purpose to Ordain Priests for the perpetuation of the Latin Mass along with the calling for his Crusade. May the Blessed Lord give you the grace of the interior life, and to be a principle of order in the public prayer of the Catholic Church.

Indeed, we are not schismatics. We are not heretics. We are not rebels. We are resisting that wave of modernism, of secularism, of progressivism, which has invaded the Church since the Vatican II Council, formulating a conciliar church to destroy everything sacred, supernatural, divine, and reduce it to human dimensions.

May Our Lady intercede for us so that we may keep up the Crusade launched by Archbishop Lefebvre for the continuation of Tradition, for the glory of the Holy Trinity and the exaltation of the Catholic Church by recapitulating all things in Christ so that all Christendom should again proclaim, “He must reign”. 

AMEN.

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) In Pictures

 

 

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Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé–No. 38 February 25

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

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No. 38: January 2023

Unless The Lord Build The House…

…they labor in vain that build it.” This verse from Psalm 126 assures us in advance that the construction of the New World Order is doomed to failure, as were the project of a gigantic tower in Babel and so many other utopias dreamed up by “masons.” At the time chosen by God, this project, which has come out of hell, will return there for the confusion of the devil and his minions.

The history of the world, says Saint Augustine, is that of the construction of two Cities: the City of God, cemented by love of God to the point of self-contempt, and the earthly City, or City of the Devil, by love of self to the point of contempt for God. But, while the divine City is built in silence and discretion, the devil’s City, unceasingly overturned and unceasingly under construction, announces itself with great fanfare and publicity.

Look at the “first stone” of the divine City: it appears in the manger of Bethlehem, unknown to most men, but not to the angels who come to sing their joy that the Kingdom of Heaven, somewhat disrupted by Lucifer’s revolt and Adam’s sin, was being rebuilt more beautiful than it was. Then compare with the dark kingdom foreseen by the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset…

Why two cities?

Why does the good Lord allow this double construction, when He could easily close down the devil’s construction site and let the children of God work quietly? The answer is simple and well known. If the sons of light were not persecuted by the sons of darkness, they would quickly fall asleep and forget to work.

But this is not the time for sleeping, as St. Paul reminded us in the epistle for the first Sunday of Advent: “It is already time to wake up from sleep” (Rom 13:11). We must not settle down on this earth, either. We are traveling, we must walk, we must advance, and this is done “with steps of love”, as the ancients used to say. That is why Jesus comes to visit us with His Cross to detach us from the earth, to turn us towards heaven, to encourage us to turn to Him and to offer him our sorrows and our labors. “The evils that press upon us here below,” says St. Gregory, “impel us to go to God (mala quæ nos hic premunt, ad Deum ire compellunt).”

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Blessing of Roses

Let’s do our part

The building of the heavenly city is above all a spiritual matter: this city is built in heaven as we build up the “inner man” within us. Our good deeds, done for the love of God, make our virtues grow, especially charity. At the hour of our death, we will be judged on love and placed in the heavenly edifice in the place we have deserved. And if we find ourselves empty of charity – God forbid! -we will be mercilessly cast into the outer darkness.

However, even if the essential is invisible and takes place in souls, the heavenly city also has a visible aspect, notably in the buildings constructed for the glory of God. In spite of all the efforts of the enemies of the Church (and they are powerful – see the destruction carried out by the Protestants in the 16th century, by the revolutionaries at the end of the 18th century, or by the conciliarists in our days), they have not been able to erase all the religious monuments of the past which show us how God and his holy Mother are loved.

There is no lack of work sites today that deserve your help, but we would like to beg you for some help in building the new parish hall and school cafeteria, which you can see on the cover of this letter.

But, as our main concern is the building of the spiritual Jerusalem, we also ask for your prayers that we may be holy religious, and we assure you of ours.

The War Against Religious

This text is excerpted from a book by Father Marie-Antoine de Lavaur, a Capuchin (1825-1907), one of the founders of the Lourdes pilgrimage, who died in the odor of sanctity. In this book, written in 1879, he describes the wounds from which society suffers. A few months later, on March 29, 1880, the decrees against religious orders were published, which led to the expulsion of religious throughout France (261 establishments, from October 14 to November 8). This text has not aged a bit in almost a century and a half.

[Father Marie-Antoine fictitiously has an angel speak to a pilgrim:]

The angel: I told you, Pilgrim, after a great Doctor, two loves have built two cities. Inspired by this thought, a Christian orator [Father Felix in a sermon in the cathedral of Notre-Dame] said these words: “Two currents carry the new generations in two diametrically opposed directions: one goes to Jesus Christ, the other goes away from Him.”

“The first of these two currents is vast and deep. It follows in a divine silence its slow and progressive march, in spite of the shudders of the passions as they strike the shore. The second grows like a torrent, it is violent, it rushes, it leaps, it foams. It strikes with a crash against the obstacle that rises up, the immovable granite. But, like the torrent, it will pass quickly and will leave behind it only the vestiges of its disasters. This is the anti-Christian current, this is anti-Christianity. It tries once again to overthrow this religion that is always killed and never knows how to die.”

The current that goes to Jesus Christ leads to religious life. The current that goes away Him, flees from this sublime life. The eternal glory of the religious life, pious Pilgrim, is to have the same friends and the same enemies as Jesus Christ. The world does not want religious people because it does not want God or Christ, but God laughs at its fury.


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Assumption Procession

Listen to the God of heaven and earth: “This little nothingness which has served me to prove the supernatural, to exalt the glorious and holy poverty and to confound the powers of the world, I am going to use it again to proclaim the glories of the religious life, this masterpiece of my Redemption.” God has spoken. And the child [Bernadette] was chosen by Mary to bear witness to God as the divine model of the religious life. By this first choice, Mary raised her to the rank of the angels; by the second, Jesus raises her far above the angels, He makes her a Queen. Bernadette had been docile to Mary’s call; she was docile to Jesus’ call. Her soul had melted with love before the Grotto where Mary spoke, now it melts with love before the tabernacle where Jesus speaks.

“My daughter, listen: From all eternity, I have chosen you to be the bride of my heart. The religious life to which I call you is the paradise of the earth. Only souls victorious over the world and their passions can inhabit it. There, I watch over them as a mother watches over the child of her tenderness. Perfect peace, ineffable joy: that is their life. It is the life of love; it is the life of the angels, with the only difference that the love of the angels only enjoys my divinity, while here love immolates itself unceasingly. This is paradise, I have conquered it with My Blood, and it is this paradise that I want to give you. ‘Come, my child, look, incline your ear’ (Ps 44). When My mother spoke to you, She left you among your people. You went back to your father’s house. You were only Her messenger. I want to make you My wife. You will be My Queen because I am King, and a Queen must live in the King’s palace: the convent is that palace! Leave the world that is not worthy of you; are you not greater than the world? ‘Forget your people and your father’s house’ (Ps 44), say goodbye to your mother, your brothers, your sisters. I do not want divided hearts. I want you all for Myself, I find you so beautiful! You reflect the beauty of My Mother, My Immaculate Mother.”

Thus spoke Jesus in the depths of the tabernacle, and the child quivered! It is so sweet, the voice of Jesus! It is so strong, so powerful, so penetrating… He shows His heart to the ravished child, from this heart an arrow leaves. This flaming arrow is the arrow of divine love (Ps 44:6). Bernadette’s heart is conquered; it belongs to Jesus for eternity.

(to be continued)

[Excerpt from Nos plaies sociales et la mission de Bernadette, chapter 8, “Septième plaie: La guerre contre les religieux”]


Chronicle:

June 29th 2022 (SS. Peter and Paul) 2022: Solemn High Mass in thanksgiving for the 40th anniversary of the ordinations of Fathers Innocent-Marie and Marie-Dominique (at Écône in 1982, by Archbishop Lefebvre).

July 2022: A busy summer, as always: spiritual retreats preached at the Friary; camps for the children of St. Thomas High School and St Philomena Primary; General Chapter of the Knights of Our Lady; Gregorian chant session…

August 4th-13th 2022: Fr. Koller preaches our annual retreat, on the Merciful Love of Our Lord. At the end of the retreat, Brothers Pie-Marie and Marie-Thomas renew their vows, and Brother Joseph-Marie makes his profession as an oblate brother.

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Brother joseph-Marie’s profession


A  ugust 16th 2022: Fr. Marie-Laurent leaves for his apostolate in the Czech Republic, and then in Poland, where Fr. Hyacinthe-Marie joins him on the 21st.

August 22nd 2022: Solemn Funeral Mass for Mr. Joël Morin, our faithful and sorely missed history professor.

September 5th-11th 2022: Living Latin session for the clerical brothers and seminarians.

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Living Latin session

October 17th 2022: Acquisition of a new property in the village of Bartrès, near Lourdes, where Saint Bernadette was employed as a shepherd girl shortly before the apparitions of Our Lady. Five minutes by car from the Grotto, the “Saint Dominic Hostel” now provides us with a place to help our postulants get used to life away from the world before entering the Friary.

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St. Dominic’s Hostel at Bartrès


October 22nd 2022: First Solemn High Mass of Fr. Paul Rousseau (SAJM), former student of the boys’ school, ordained by Bishop Faure in June.

November 19th 2022: Fr. Emmanuel-Marie and Br. Marie-Thomas present our publications at a festival organized by Civitas (a group promoting Catholic social doctrine), in Paris.

December 8th 2022: Solemn High Mass for the Immaculate Conception at the “Greniers Saint Jean” in Angers, followed by a candle-light procession throughout the center of town.

December 16th 2022: The children of Saint Philomena School present their Christmas Pageant to the elderly in a nearby retirement home.

December 23rd – January 9th 2022: Fr. Marie-Laurent is in the US (Texas, Kansas…) to help out Bishop Zendejas.

January 1st 2022: Annual Christmas “afternoon recreation” for the fathers and brothers. This year the lay brothers present “Jodel, Our Lady’s Minstral”, and the clerical brothers rejoice us with their musical talents (piano, flute, guitar…).

January 27th 2022: Fr. Hyacinthe-Marie holds the first meeting by Skype for our tertiaries in Poland.

January 27th – 29th 2022: Formation session at the Friary for the Knights of Our Lady.

January 14th – 20th 2022: Annual pilgrimage in Rome for the senior class of St. Thomas Aquinas, accompanied by Fr. Emmanuel-Marie.

News from our worksites

Begun in September, the construction of the new parish hall is advancing quickly. (see the picture on the cover.)

We have also finished fencing off the woods, as well as a plot of land behind the boys’ school. These past few years, illegal intruders have been getting less and less rare.

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For timely articles and spiritual reading, please go to our website:

www.dominicansavrille.us

To send a donation:

YOU MAY USE PAYPAL (ON OUR WEBSITE), OR SEND TO:

Dominicans of Avrillé, Inc.
P.O. Box 23, Newman Lake, WA. 99025

Please take note that we no longer have our other bank accounts. Please specify when sending donations to the above address whether your donation is in American or Canadian dollars.

For more information :

Couvent de la Haye-aux-Bonshommes

49240 Avrillé, France

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HOLINESS IN THE FAMILY – Sincerity and Lies

HOLINESS IN THE FAMILY

Sincerity and Lies

by Brother François-Marie O.P.

from “Le Sel de la Terre” 120 (Spring 2022)

“Lord! Who will dwell in your tabernacle? Who will rest on your holy mountain [Heaven]? He who speaks the truth in his heart and has not deceived in his words” (Ps 14)

IT IS OF THE HIGHEST IMPORTANCE, if we want to lead to Heaven the children whom the good Lord has entrusted to us, to take care to educate them, from their earliest years, in the practice of the virtues that make them good, that is to say, similar to God who is infinite Goodness.

We will begin these talks with the virtue of truthfulness or sincerity, which goes hand in hand with the flight from the opposite vice: lying

Sincerity

The Truth

God created us in his image. He gave us the word to imitate him.

Just as God has an eternal word, the Word, which is the true expression of the eternal wisdom of the Father and therefore the absolute Truth, so we have our Word, which must be the true expression of our thought. When we do this, we are truly imitators and children of God.

Truth is what is. Every word must be the expression of what is, that is, of the truth.

We may be insincere in our dealings with God: in our self-examination, in confession, in prayer, in our inner conversation with him, but we will not be able to deceive him, for God knows everything. We will be the main victims of this lie.

The same is not true of our neighbor. He can be deceived, and both justice and charity require that we be true to him, so that he will not be deceived either by our words or by our actions.

The Benefits of Sincerity

The sincerity of children does honor to the parents and greatly facilitates the work of education. We have a good example of this good habit in the children of the Barbedette family, whose eldest child was 12 years old at the time of the apparitions in Pontmain (France) on January 17, 1871:

Knowing that her children were not in the habit of lying, Mrs. Barbedette asked them to describe what they saw, then after some time, disconcerted by the fact that she saw nothing, but not questioning their word, she sent for the sister teacher to verify, then the priest.

These parents, profoundly Catholics, had succeeded in giving their children the habit of sincerity. It allowed the inhabitants of the village, all grouped behind their parish priest, to believe in the reality of the apparition, to react promptly to the expectation of the Virgin Mary, that is, to pray. The result was to stop the advance of the German army.

How to Develop Sincerity in Children

There are three ways:

a) Give the Example

* By never deceiving children.

We set the stage for lying every time we promise things – rewards or punishments – and then fail to keep our word, because we have spoken too quickly, impatiently or thoughtlessly.
If these failures are repeated frequently, children learn that words can be different from actions.

* By setting an example of truth, especially where it costs.

This doesn’t have to be in words, but in actions. Children who see a parent scratch a car while parking and leave without saying anything will probably not learn a good lesson from it; likewise if, at the entrance to a museum, they hear him lie about the age of one of them in order to benefit from the reduced rate.

In this area, small and seemingly insignificant mistakes can have serious consequences on a child’s conscience, and he or she will conclude that lying is allowed whenever it is useful. He will immediately make applications, the seriousness of which he alone will judge, and the parents will know nothing about it, or too late.

b) Inspire a Deep Esteem For Sincerity

* By praising this virtue often, and by making it admired when good examples allow it.

* By blaming the lie.

* By stating loud and clear that we will be proud to have children who practice this virtue.

Be concerned with truth to the point of detail. When your children tell their “adventures”, help them to tell things accurately down to the smallest detail, correcting their exaggerations or confusions.

c) Encourage the Sincerity of Children

* By faith. Jesus is the Truth. He knows all, he sees all. If you love the truth, you will be a friend of Jesus. If you lie, you become a friend of the devil who is the father of lies.

* By discretion.

One should never make fun of the scruples and ingenuity of children, nor make them known to others. The child who sees his confidences betrayed will close his heart definitively.

In a delicate matter, avoid questions that show our doubt or ignorance too clearly. Still not very virtuous, because of his age, the child who understands that he can lie with impunity will easily give in to temptation.

What to do then? As much as possible, get information from other sources by doing a little investigation. When you have enough information to know what happened, you can help the child practice truthfulness. If the evidence is not specific enough and the mistake is not serious, it is better to look the other way than to destroy trust.

* By the remission of the punishment.

The child must see the difference in treatment between an admitted and an unconfessed fault. If he is to be punished, he must not be given the impression that the cause of his grief is his sincerity, for he will never again confide in anyone.

However, if the offence requires it, it must be repaired, but with kindness, so that he feels appeased and even happy to have told the truth. It is sometimes possible not to punish at all, but this should be the exception.

The Lie

The Eighth Commandment: “Thou Shall Not Lie”.

God’s commandments are based on God’s nature and on our own. They tend to make us a living image of our Creator, making us good, virtuous and ultimately, happy.

As God is the supreme Truth, nothing is more contrary to Him than lying; this is why He absolutely forbids it by the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not lie”, in order to prevent man from insulting his Creator. Indeed, every lie being the negation of a truth, tends to deny God, the supreme Truth. That is why no one must lie.

This is the negative part of the commandment which, like all the others, also has a positive part, commanding us to tell the truth. An effective education should not be limited to prohibitions, but should emphasize what is ordered for the good of the child: this is why we began this talk by talking about the virtue of truthfulness.

Lying In General

St. Augustine aptly defines lying by saying that it consists in speaking against one’s own thought in order to deceive.

a) Two Conditions Are Necessary For a Lie To Exist:

* expressing things one does not think ‑ whether they are true or false. Saying something that is false but believed to be true is not a lie, but a mistake. On the other hand, one can lie by saying something that is materially true, but which one believes to be false.

* intend to deceive. Fabulous or romantic stories, ironic jokes expressed by antiphrasis or obvious exaggeration are not lies as long as they do not aim to deceive.

b) Lying Has a Triple Evil:

* It harms the liar, who degrades himself by taking away something of his likeness to God. The liar makes himself guilty, both before God and before his own conscience. Lying can lead to blindness and damnation.

He who gets used to telling small lies as a child, whatever the reason, will tell bigger ones as an adult: he will lie in his commitments, in his business, etc.

* The liar deprives his neighbor of the truth. He makes him take the false for the true, which can lead to great damage and great faults.

* The liar offends God in the person of his Word who said: “I am the Truth” and honors, in his place, Satan the father of lies.

The Lie in Society Today

In the 18th century, one of the “great ancestors” of our republican and anti-Catholic (French) society, the ill-fated Voltaire wrote:

Lying is a vice only when it does harm; it is a very great virtue when it does good. So be more virtuous than ever. You must lie like a devil, not timidly, not for a time, but boldly and always. Lie, my friends, lie, I will return it to you on occasion.” [Letter to Thiériot, October 21, 1736].

The motto had many followers, in politics, in economics, in education, in the press, and in morality.

In the 20th century, Marxism used lying as a battle tactic and made it a “virtue,” extolled in its “catechism” for its militants. In the 21st century, we are told that we have entered the “post-truth” era, that is, no objective truth is admitted anymore. The official discourse is constructed according to the ideology of the time, according to the objectives to be achieved, whether they be military, educational, political or scientific. One must see in this perspective the insistence on the Darwinist theory of evolution, on global warming due to CO₂, on the health crisis, etc.

Lying In Children Today

The child is naturally sincere; he speaks as he thinks and spontaneously corrects what seems to him to be contrary to the truth. Mental restriction, dissimulation, deceit, and hypocrisy are not usually the work of the child. This tendency to truth, which is fundamental, is however wounded by original sin and can be wounded even more by the environment and education.

All educators know that most children lie by the time they are old enough to be reasonable. Of course, it is usually not in serious matters, but children who never or almost never lie are very rare.

It seems that this ailment has become more common than it used to be. This means that even in the best families, something has been missed in early childhood education. We reported above the example of the Barbedette children in Pontmain in 1871. Let us cite here two other examples:

Lucia of Fatima in 1917 never lied, even when her mother beat her to force her to say she had not seen the Blessed Virgin.

That of Jacqueline Aubry, the little visionary of Ile-Bouchard (France) in 1947: her parents rarely practiced and there was no family prayer, however her mother could testify that her daughter had never lied, that is why she believed her when she told the vision of the Holy Virgin.

What To Do When You See That The Child Is Lying

* If it is the first time, we must mark our surprise, our sorrow with gravity.

* If the child reoffends, he should be kept in disgrace by limiting relations with him to what is strictly necessary. Examples from the Scriptures should be used to show the severity of God’s punishment for lying, such as the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the Acts of the Apostles.

What Are The Main Reasons Children Lie

* Fear: this is the most common. The child has done something wrong, for example, broken an object, not learned a lesson or cannot do an assignment; fearing to be scolded or punished, he/she chooses the easy way out that seems to solve the problem, by telling a lie, or even by cheating in class if it is an assignment.

The point is that the child would rather go out and play than complete a task or service. If asked the question, “Have you finished?” In games, children cheat because they want to win.

* Vanity: to show off, he magnifies what is to his advantage, he diminishes or denies what would make him look bad.

We see that the child lies because his virtue is weak. Certainly, he has the infused virtues that accompany sanctifying grace, but he does not sufficiently possess the acquired virtues, which are formed by the repetition of virtuous acts. He reacts “naturally”, in most cases. He lacks humility, courage, generosity, love of justice, and therefore frankness, sincerity and loyalty.

Three Remedies For Lying Children

1. It is necessary to inculcate, from the earliest age, the love of truth, explaining to children that Jesus is the Truth itself, and that, in order to be a friend of Jesus, one must always tell the truth. Jesus, being God, sees all and knows all; we cannot hide anything from him. If one does not tell the truth, one is a friend of the devil. Moreover, it is cowardly to lie.

2. If you discover that something wrong has been done, do not ask your child questions in an angry, threatening tone, but encourage him to tell the truth and assure him that a frank confession will earn him forgiveness. If your child is loyal, do not punish him or her, but encourage him or her to make amends (these are two different things). This will eliminate lying out of fear. The child accepts the consequences of his misdeeds very well because he has a sense of justice, and generally there is no malice in most of his faults. He will gladly make amends, for example by doing a favor.

3. Point out to the child how much peace his or her soul feels when he or she has told the truth. Some time ago, in a school, a small group of children had damaged the bottom of a plasterboard wall, already damaged by humidity and by a few kicks. The next day, after the prayer, the director asked that the culprits come forward, assuring that they would not be punished, but would have to repair the damage by doing some services. The perpetrators of this degradation promptly denounced themselves, and diligently carried out the requested repairs. Of course, the parents had to bear some of the costs. But each child became aware of the consequences of his or her own stupidity, either by accompanying the father to repair the damaged wall, or by contributing to the costs with his or her piggy bank, or by rendering compensatory services at home.

Translation by A.A.

Vatican II Put Into a Code of Laws – The New Cod of Canon Law (1983)


Vatican II Put Into a Code of Laws

The New Code of Canon Law (1983)

by a Dominican Father of Avrillé

(published in Le Sel de la terre 120, Spring 2022)

When error is once embodied in legal formulas and administrative practices, it penetrates the minds to depths from which it becomes as if impossible to extricate it.

Cardinal Pie, Pastoral Works, VI.

Preamble: Is Canon Law Amiable?

When a priest makes this cheerful comment to one of his confreres: “So you study Canon Law?” one can easily guess some ulterior motive which could be translated as follows: “What a turn of mind you have!” or again: “What courage!

Is Canon Law really so boring? Is it so abstract, so cold, so unpleasant? We would like to prove here how lovable it is in itself, lovable especially because it introduces us, like theology, to the heart of the Church and to the Heart of Christ1.

It was of the traditional Code of Canon Law, that of 1917, that Father Coache spoke in these terms in the 1980s. But first of all, what is Law?

In French, Canon Law is translated “Droit canon”, and the French word Droit (in Latin Jus) comes from the Latin words dirigere and regere. In this case, it means a set of laws intended to direct us, to govern us. As for the word “canon“, it comes from a Greek word which means: rule.

We can now define Canon Law:

Canon Law is the body of laws proposed, established or approved by the supreme ecclesiastical authority, to direct Christians towards the end of religious society2.

A classic commentary adds the following clarification:

The subjects of ecclesiastical law are Christians, that is, all those who have received baptism, even if they are heretics, schismatics, excommunicated or even apostates.

As for the end of religious society, it is none other than the salvation of men, and, more immediately, the preservation of divine worship, of the purity of the faith and of honesty of morals among the Christian people in general3.

It is important to note the link between Canon Law and theology:

– it can be said to protect dogmatic theology, laying down rules to preserve the purity of the faith, in particular laws on teaching, prescriptions on professions of faith, censures against heresy and schism4;

– It supports moral theology as from the outside, for if moral theology orders human acts (interior and exterior) to personal eternal salvation, Canon Law has as its object the exterior acts of the baptized in their relation to the social good of the Church on this earth, to enable her to work for the salvation of souls and the reign of Our Lord over societies. Canon Law does not judge the internal forum of consciences, which is reserved for the confessional. Hence the adage: de internis Ecclesia non judicat.

The Code of Canon Law is therefore as important in the Church as dogma, morals, or the science of the Holy Scriptures. It shows the face of the Church and of Christ in their magnificent justice and their sweet mercy. It is the legislation of Christ and of His Bride, an expression of the Love of Our Lord and of His Church for their children. It is the Code of Canon Law that makes known to us the spirit of the Church. It is therefore lovable, and we must respect and love it5 .

Two Codes, Two Stories

The 1917 Code

– The Sources of Traditional Canon Law

The Supreme Pontiff and the General Councils are the two immediate sources of Canon Law; and since the decrees of the General Councils have authority only through papal approval, it can be said that papal authority is the primary generative source of General Canon Law6 .

– From the Apostles to the 12 th century: the birth of ecclesiastical legislation

In the early days, the discipline of the Church was not regulated by written laws, but by an oral tradition which came from the Apostles and the first successors of Peter. Gradually, especially after the era of persecution, synods began to be held in which decrees or canons were issued, forming the first texts of ecclesiastical law. They were gathered in collections bearing the name of the Apostles (Didascalia7 of the Apostles, Constitutions of the Apostles, Canons of the Apostles, etc.) or of some great ecclesiastical figure (Octateuch of Clement, Canons of Hippolytus, etc.). These are compilations of local customs or conciliar decisions, but they do not go back further than the third century8 .

From the 4 th century onwards, there are collections of different conciliar decisions classified by region and chronological order (Councils of Africa, Councils of Spain, etc.) and Decretals of popes.

The most famous canonical collection is the Decree of Gratian, published around 1145 in Bologna, which groups in a logical order and comments all the texts available at the time. John Gratian was an Italian Camaldolese monk and professor of Canon Law at the University of Bologna. His collection had the same notoriety and influence as the Sentences of Peter Lombard for theology.

– From the 12 th to 16th century: stabilization of the Law

After the Decree of Gratian, several ecumenical councils were held, and the great popes of the time, Alexander III (pope from 1159 to 1181) and Innocent III (pope from 1198 to 1216) in particular, had made a number of important decisions for the whole Church. The decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council (1216) provided the main basis for the Church’s legislation until the Council of Trent.

Gregory IX (pope from 1227 to 1241) commissioned his chaplain, the Dominican St. Raymond de Pennafort (1175-1275), to compile a collection of them. These were the Decretals of Gregory IX, published in 1234, the most important official canonical collection until the Code of 1917.

At the beginning of the 16 th century, a Corpus Juris canonici was published, including the Decree of Gratian, the Decretals of Gregory IX and the documents of the following popes.

– From the 16 th to the 20 th century: the crowning of the Law

The decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and the promulgation of new laws soon made the Corpus Juris canonici insufficient. Several popes tried to complete it, while new collections, due to private initiative, were created.

At the time when St. Pius X (pope from 1903 to 1914) ascended to the See of Peter, it was difficult to find one’s way through the ecclesiastical legislation.

[It was] an enormous mass of documents scattered in so many volumes and without any order, many of which were not real laws, but answers to particular cases, or had been abrogated by later laws or by custom9 .

[Moreover, many of these laws], because of the changes that had taken place, were of difficult application or of lesser use for the salvation of souls10 .

Already at the first Vatican Council, many bishops had made urgent requests for an updating of the ecclesiastical laws. Leo XIII had begun by codifying the legislation of the Index and of religious congregations with simple vows.

In 1904, St. Pius X judged that the codification of all Canon Law could be undertaken. By his Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus of 19 March, he set up a commission of cardinals, presided over by Cardinal Gasparri, working in conjunction with several consultors and bishops. Bishops and religious superiors were then invited to give their opinion. It was under Pope Benedict XV that the work was completed. The Code was promulgated on May 27, 1917, the day of Pentecost, by the Bull Providentissima Mater, declaring that it would have the force of law from May 19, 1918.

On September 15, 1917, by the letter Cum Juris canonici, Benedict XV had instituted a cardinal commission charged with the interpretation of the Code and with the drafting of additional canons that might become necessary in the future. Since then, there have been many new texts and provisions, for example, the change of discipline for the Eucharistic fast, or the permission for evening Masses. Pius XII alone, through his speeches and decrees, has greatly advanced the Law. The changes were published in the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis (Acts of the Holy See)11 .

The 1983 Code

An update of the Canon Law was therefore necessary.

In 1953, the Jesuit Father Regatillo published a 720-page work interpreting, completing or correcting – with official responses from Rome – a large number of canons.

It was John XXIII, on January 25, 1959, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, who simultaneously announced the holding of a Roman Synod, the celebration of an Ecumenical Council, and the reform of the Code of Canon Law.

But it was only on March 28, 1963, after the first session of Vatican II, that John XXIII established a “Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law” composed of forty cardinals. At its first meeting, on 12 November 1963, the Commission decided to wait until the end of the Council before setting to work.

On April 17, 1964, Paul VI added to the Cardinal’s Commission a body of seventy consultors, among whom were almost all the secretaries of the Conciliar Commissions.

The work began a few days before the solemn closing of the Council, under the presidency of Cardinal Felici12 . In 1966, forty-eight bishops and one hundred and twenty-one consultors, priests, religious and laity, were added in order to involve the universal Church in this elaboration13 .

After ten years of work, the project was sent to all the bishops, to the superiors general of the religious orders, to the Catholic universities and pontifical ecclesiastical faculties for consultation. Thirty thousand suggestions were examined, and new cardinals, archbishops and bishops, priests and laity from the five parts of the world were added to the Commission. Everything was then presented to Pope John Paul II on 21 April 1982. The latter revised the whole with a group of ten experts (cardinals, bishops and priests).

The new Code was promulgated by Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1983, in the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, twenty-four years to the day after John XXIII had announced the reform. In it, the Pope noted the “collegial” character of the work that led to this new Code, as shown by the large number of people who had worked on it:

If we look at the kind of work that preceded the promulgation of the Code, and the way in which it was carried out, especially during the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul Ist, and from then until today, it must be made absolutely clear that this work was carried out to the end in a marvellously collegial spirit14 . And this is true not only for the material drafting of this work, but also, and in depth, for the very substance of the laws that were drawn up.

Now this note of collegiality which characterizes and distinguishes the whole process of giving birth to this new Code corresponds perfectly to the magisterium and the character of the Second Vatican Council15.

Two Codes, Two Minds

It is interesting to see in what spirit Pope St. Pius X on the one hand, and Pope John Paul II on the other, have endeavored to bring together the ecclesiastical laws in a single Code.

The Intention of St. Pius X

Let us quote here a few lines from the Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus of St. Pius X, written only eight months after his election16 , which shows how much the pope considers this task a priority:

As soon as, by a secret council of divine Providence, We assumed the painful task of governing the universal Church, the main goal and the rule which We imposed on Ourselves, as it were, was, as far as Our strength would allow, to restore everything in Christ. […]

But knowing full well that ecclesiastical discipline, above all, must contribute to the restoration of everything in Christ – for if it is well regulated and flourishing, it cannot but be very fruitful in the fruits of salvation – We have directed Our attention and Our paternal solicitude to this area. […]

Many illustrious prelates of the Holy Church, even cardinals, have urged that the laws of the universal Church which have been promulgated up to this time be distributed in a clear and precise order, excluding those which have been abrogated or which have fallen into disuse. The others would, when necessary, be adapted to the needs of our time17 .

The pope is clearly following in the footsteps of his predecessors, updating the laws of the Church in order to effectively implement his program of restoration of all things in Christ.

The Intention of John Paul II

In the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges of January 25, 1983, Pope John Paul II explains the spirit in which he requested the publication of a new Code of Canon Law:

The reform of the Code of Canon Law was clearly desired and requested by the Council itself, for it had devoted the greatest attention to the Church. […]

This is why the Code, not only in its content but already from its inception, has put into action the spirit of the Council, whose documents present the Church, the “universal sacrament of salvation18“, as the People of God, and where its hierarchical constitution appears to be based on the College of Bishops united to its head. […]

This instrument, the Code, corresponds fully to the nature of the Church, especially as described by the magisterium of the Second Vatican Council in general, and in particular in its ecclesiological teaching. In a certain sense, one could even see in this Code a great effort to translate into canonical language this very doctrine of conciliar ecclesiology. If, however, it is not possible to translate perfectly into canonical language the conciliar image of the Church, the Code must nevertheless always be referred to this same image as its primordial exemplar, whose features, by its very nature, it must express as much as possible. […]

As a result, what constitutes the essential novelty of the Second Vatican Council, in continuity with the Church’s legislative tradition, especially with regard to ecclesiology, also constitutes the novelty of the new Code.

Among the elements that characterize the real and authentic image of the Church, we must highlight the following in particular:

– the doctrine according to which the Church presents herself as the People of God (cf. Constitution Lumen Gentium, 2) and hierarchical authority as service (cf. ibid, 3);

– the doctrine which shows the Church as a communion19 and which, therefore, indicates what kind of relationship should exist between the particular Churches and the universal Church, and between collegiality and primacy;

– the doctrine that all members of the People of God, each according to his or her own modality, participate in the threefold function of Christ: the priestly, prophetic and royal functions. Linked to this doctrine is that concerning the duties and rights of the faithful, and in particular the laity; and finally the Church’s commitment to ecumenism. […]

After all these reflections, it remains to hope that the new canonical legislation will become an effective means for the Church to progress in the spirit of Vatican II, and to make herself better adapted each day to fulfill her function of salvation in this world20.

The quote is a bit long, but it was difficult to shorten it.

Pope John Paul II makes it clear that the 1983 Code is a new Code in its conception of the Church as “People of God” and “communion”, and that it was promulgated to advance the Church in the spirit of Vatican II.

The Main Divisions of the Code

The different spirit of the two Codes is first evident in their design.

The 1917 Code

The 1917 Code is divided into five books, which in turn are divided into 107 titles (Tituli):

– Book I: General Norms: of ecclesiastical laws, customs, time calculation, rescripts, privileges, dispensations.

– Book II: Persons: clerics, religious, laity.

– Book III: Things: sacraments, sacred places and times, divine worship, ecclesiastical magisterium, ecclesiastical benefits, temporal goods of the Church.

– Book IV: Trials in justice, causes of beatifications and canonizations, the manner of proceeding in some cases and penal sanctions.

– Book V: Sanctions and Punishments.

The 1983 Code

The 1983 Code does not repeat this division:

It should be noted that the general organization of the new Code is symptomatic of the spirit in which it was composed. The division of legal matters has abandoned the general division of the 1917 Code, which was dependent on the ancient principles of Roman law. […]

Henceforth, the division of the titles of the new Code follows a distribution more in conformity with the directives of the Council and, in the titles themselves which have been adopted, reveals the spirit which animated this reform21 .

– Book I: General Norms: ecclesiastical laws, custom, general decrees and instructions, particular administrative acts, statutes and regulations, natural and juridical persons, the power of government, ecclesiastical offices, prescription, calculation of time.

– Book II: The People of God: the faithful of Christ, the hierarchical constitution of the Church, institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.

– Book III: The Teaching Function of the Church: the ministry of the Word of God, the missionary activity of the Church, Catholic education, the means of social communication and in particular books, the profession of faith.

– Book IV: The Office of Sanctifying in the Church: the Sacraments, Other Acts of Divine Worship, Sacred Places and Times.

– Book V: The Temporal Goods of the Church.

– Book VI: Sanctions in the Church.

– Book VII: The Trials.

Outline of the 1983 Code

Since this article is not a treatise on Canon Law for specialists, we will not make an exhaustive study. The reader will, however, find sufficient elements to make a judgment on the new legislation.

Book I: General Norms (C. 1-203)

Like the 1917 Code, the 1983 Code begins by establishing “General Norms”. This is Book I, which establishes the main principles governing the constitution and interpretation of ecclesiastical laws.

Although the number of canons has increased from 86 to 203, and there have been some changes in titles and subject matter, there is no significant difference here, between the 1917 and 1983 legislation.

It should be noted, however, from this introduction, that the chapter on ecclesiastical offices, which was in the part dealing with clerics, has been transferred to the General Norms. Canon Paralieu gives the explanation:

Lay people, and even women, can now receive an ecclesiastical office (unless the office involves a full charge of the soul): a lay person can be a diocesan bursar, a woman can be a defender of the [marital] bond in an ecclesiastical Tribunal [Paralieu, p. 75]22 .

With respect to these offices, the 1983 Code states:

To be appointed to an ecclesiastical office, one must be in the communion of the Church [can. 149 § 1].

In itself, this is obvious, but we will see what this notion of “communion” implies today, in connection with the new profession of faith.

Let us now go further into the new legislation.

Book II: The People of God (C. 204-746)

Book II of the new Code, with its 543 canons, is the most important by its length. It constitutes almost a third of the work. But it is especially important for its new conception of the Church.

– Part I: Christ’s faithful (C. 204-329)

1. Preamble (C. 204-207)

– The 1983 Code is based first of all on a new conception of the Church defined as “People of God”, which even gives its title to Book II:

C. 204, § 1: The faithful of Christ are those who, being incorporated into Christ by baptism, are constituted as the people of God and who, for this reason, having been made participants in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ, are called to exercise, each according to his own condition, the mission which God has entrusted to the Church for the accomplishment of this mission in the world.

It should be noted here that the 1983 Code ‑, again for the first time, ‑ uses the name “Christ’s faithful” to designate both the laity and the hierarchical clergy; an egalitarianism which is reinforced by the fact that the Code begins by enumerating the obligations and rights common to all, without distinction (Title I).

On the other hand, while the 1917 Code deals with persons according to a descending hierarchy (clerics, religious, laity), the 1983 Code reverses things by dealing first with the laity (Title II), before examining the legislation concerning clerics (Title III). As for religious, they are relegated to a place after the associations of the faithful (Title V23 ) and the part concerning the hierarchy of the Church.

Let us note paragraph 2 of the same canon with the famous “subsistit in”:

C. 204, § 2: This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.

The expression is taken from the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church (I, 8). Traditional teaching expressly states that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, which means very clearly that there is absolute identity between the Church founded by Our Lord and the Catholic Church. The other ecclesial communities, falsely qualified as Christian, do not belong to the Church of Christ, but have left it. The expression subsistit in introduces an ambiguity which allows us to maintain that outside the Catholic Church, there are true ecclesial realities24 .

Ecumenism has come.

– In his introduction to Canon Paralieu’s work presenting the new Code, Father de Lanversin explains the reason for the changes:

Book II of the new Code (De Populo Dei) is the one that puts in place the most new elements resulting from the conciliar decisions; and first of all a reversal of the ecclesiological perspectives following the Constitution Lumen Gentium on the Church. In fact, the binomial of the old Law: “hierarchy/people of God” gives way to this one: “people of God/hierarchy”; that is to say, the Church is presented as an evangelical community in which the hierarchy, willed by Christ, is not so much envisaged as a power (potestas) as an office (munus) and a service (diakonia) within the people of God. In the perspective of “ecclesial communion”, this part of the Code sets up the various instances of the “communio hierarchica” within the people of God. In the same way, an entire section of Book II is devoted to the establishment of “organs of participation” in the Church. […] This part of the Code also includes an entire treatise on the laity, without forgetting the right of association of the faithful [p. 24-25].

In his book Church, Ecumenism and Politics, Cardinal Ratzinger explains why this has happened. After recalling that German theologians began criticizing the concept of the Mystical Body in the 1930s25, he adds:

We wondered whether the image of the Mystical Body was not too narrow a starting point for defining the multiple forms of belonging to the Church that are now present in the complicated meanderings of human history. The image of the Body offers only one form of representation of membership, that of member. Either one is a member or one is not, there is no middle ground. But, one might ask, would not the starting point of this image be precisely a little too narrow, since there are obviously intermediate degrees in reality? The concept of the people of God was found, which from this point of view is much broader and more flexible. The Constitution Lumen Gentium makes it its own, in specifying this sense, when it describes the relationship of Catholic Christians with the Catholic Church by the concept of connection (conjunctio)26, and that of non-Christians by the concept of ordination (ordinatio)27. In both cases, the idea of the people of God is used.

It can be said that the concept of the People of God was introduced by the Council primarily as an ecumenical bridge28.

– What do we think of these changes?

This ecumenical notion of the “People of God”, which we shall see has no basis in either Sacred Scripture or the Magisterium, has no basis in history either.

In the Old Testament, God certainly began by forming a people from the twelve sons of Jacob exiled in Egypt, and it was later that he constituted a hierarchy around Moses to guide them. It is worth noting that this people had very precise boundaries, because of the circumcision that distinguished it from all the neighboring peoples. There was no room for “imperfect communion”. One belonged to the people or one did not.

But in the New Covenant, Our Lord began by forming for three years, not a people, but twelve Apostles, to whom he gave a leader, St. Peter; and from Pentecost onwards, it was these same Apostles, with St. Peter at their head, who constituted a people, through baptism, which distinguishes it from other peoples. Very quickly an intermediate hierarchy was established through the ordination of deacons, sub-deacons, etc.

The Magisterium has moreover clearly pronounced itself on this question. Thus, on June 29, 1943 – not so long ago – Pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical Mystici Corporis, on the Church Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

This doctrine, which Cardinal Ratzinger considers to be “a starting point that is too limited, […] and a little too narrow”, Pius XII recalled that the Church nevertheless “received it from the lips of the Redeemer himself; and it puts in its true light this never sufficiently exalted benefit of our close union with this sublime Head”.

And the Pope continued with St. Paul:

“Christ,” says the Apostle, “is the head of the Body which is the Church” (Col 1:18). If the Church is a Body, it is therefore necessary that it be a single and indivisible organism, according to the words of St. Paul: “Though we are many, we are one Body in Christ” (Rom 12:5). […]

It is therefore a departure from divine truth to imagine a Church that cannot be touched, that is only spiritual, in which the many Christian communities, though divided from one another in faith, are nevertheless united by an invisible bond.

It is the notion of the body that allows us to better understand the need for a hierarchy:

The body, in nature, is not formed of any assemblage of members, but must be provided with organs, that is to say, with members which are not equally active and which are arranged in a suitable order.

It is again the notion of the body that gives the Church its missionary impetus:

Those who do not belong to the visible organism of the Church […] we invite to come out of a state in which no one can be sure of his eternal salvation. […] Let them, therefore, enter into Catholic unity and, united with us in the one organism of the Body of Jesus Christ, let them all run to the one Head in a most glorious society of love.

In fact, with the new conception of the Church as the people of God and a communion, not only has a democratic spirit undermined the authority of the Catholic hierarchy instituted by Our Lord, but the “ecumenical bridge” permitted by the new definition of the Church has opened the door to the end of the mission, the essential task which Christ had entrusted to his Apostles:

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mk 16:15-16).

Archbishop Lefebvre considered this change in conception to be exceptionally serious:

There is a new ecclesiology, that’s clear. In my opinion, it is exceptionally serious to be able to say that there can be a new ecclesiology. We are not the ones who make the Church, we are not the ones who made her, not the Pope, not the bishops, not history, not the Councils. It was made by Our Lord. [It does not depend on us. So, how can we suddenly say: “Now, since Vatican II, there is a new ecclesiology”, and this is said by the Pope himself. It is unbelievable29.

(To be continued)

Translation by A. A.

1 – Abbé Louis Coache (1920-1994), Doctor of Canon Law, introduction to his book: Is Canon Law Kind? Beaumont-Pied-de-Bœuf (Moulin du Pin), 1986. The work is an introduction to Canon Law, augmented by a critical study of the new Code. It is a very easy read.

2 – Adrien Cance, Le Code de Droit Canonique, Paris, Gabalda, 1938, p. 8.

3 – Adrien Cance, ibid. , p. 9-10.

4 – Censure is a punishment that the Church inflicts on one of its subjects for his amendment, and of course for the common good. We will discuss this in connection with Book VI of the new Code.

5 – This preamble is inspired by the introduction to the work of Father Coache.

6 – A brief history of Canon Law can be found in the volume by Adrien Cance, Le Code de Droit canonique, Paris, Gabalda, 1938, vol. 1, pp. 6-21, which we have used. A more detailed study has been made by Raoul Naz in his Traité de Droit Canonique, Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1946, vol. 1, pp. 9-63.

7 – This word comes from the Greek didaskalia which means: teaching.

8 – For a more in-depth study, one can consult here the articles of F. Nau in the DTC: “Canons of the Apostles, Apostolic Constitutions, Didascalia of the Apostles”.

9 – Cardinal Gasparri, in the preface to the 1917 Code.

10 – St. Pius X, Bull Arduum Sane munus, March 19, 1904.

11 – A very valuable work, Canon Law Digest, by the American Father Bouscaren S.J., gathers together all the pontifical documents relating to Canon Law, from 1917 to 1983 (published in Milwaukee, USA, by The Bruce publishing company.

12 – He died of a sudden heart attack just before presenting the final work to Pope John Paul II.

13 – By comparison, the drafting of the 1917 Code had required only ten cardinals under the chairmanship of Cardinal Gasparri, assisted by a small number of consultors. The work lasted thirteen years.

14 – Italics in the original text.

15 – John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacræ Disciplinæ Leges, Latin-French Code of Canon Law, Paris, Centurion/Cerf/Tardy, 1984, p. x.

16 – St. Pius X was indeed elected pope on August 4, 1903.

17 – St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Arduum Sane Munus, March 19, 1904, Documents Pontificaux de S.S. Saint Pius X, Publications du Courrier de Rome, 1993, volume 1, p. 152-153.

18 – Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1, 9, 48.

19 – Italics in the original text.

20 – John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacræ Disciplinæ Leges, 25 January 1983, reproduced in the work Code of Canon Law, Official Text and French Translation, Paris, Centurion/Cerf/Tardy, 1984, pp. IX ff.

21 – Roger Paralieu, Guide Pratique du Code de Droit canonique, Bourges, Tardy, 1985, p. 23. Preface by Cardinal Etchegaray.

22 – We will speak a little later about the influence of feminism in the Church today, in the section on institutes of consecrated life.

23 – Title IV is like a parenthesis which deals with personal prelatures, a novelty of Vatican II.

24 – On this expression Subsistit in, we can see, among others, the explanations of the Catholic Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, question 45 (in Le Sel de la terre 51, p. 19-20).

25 – So it was under Pope Pius XI. Modernism was acting in a subterranean way, waiting to show itself in the open during the Council.

26 – “The word “connection” means that there is some imperfect fellowship in Christ” (book note).

27 – “The word ordination means that there is some still more imperfect communion in the same God or about the same” (book note).

28 – Joseph Ratzinger, Église, Œcuménisme et Politique, Paris, Fayard, 1987, p. 27. To deepen this new conception of the Church, one can refer to the article by Brother Pierre-Marie o.p. “Comparative Ecclesiology”, published in Le Sel de la terre 97, Summer 2016.

29 – Archbishop Lefebvre, spiritual conference of March 17, 1986 in Ecône (in CD #2, The Holy Church).

News From Rome

News From Rome

Published in “Le Sel de la terre” 120

1. The March 25, 2022, Consecration

* What Did Our Lady of Fatima Ask?

“God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and we will have peace. […] I will ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the reparative Communion on first Saturdays.

“If my demands are heeded, Russia will convert and there will be peace.

“Otherwise, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, several nations will be annihilated.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, it will convert, and a certain time of peace will be granted to the world1.

“The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He promises to save her by this means2.”

Sister Lucia’s commentary:

God wills the consecration of Russia, and of Russia alone, without any addition, because Russia is a vast, well-circumscribed territory, and her conversion will be noticed, thus bringing the proof of what can be obtained by consecration to the Heart Immaculate of Mary3.

* What Did Pope Francis Do On March 25, 2022?

Pope Francis consecrated: 1) his person, 2) all of humanity, 3) Russia, 4) and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It is, of course, not a bad thing in itself, even if one can deplore the long globalist and ecological text which preceded the formula of consecration. However, according to Sister Lucy’s indications, this does not entirely respond to Our Lady’s requests, since the consecration focused more on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict than on Russia itself. The letter addressed by Pope Francis to all the bishops of the world asking them to join in the consecration does not mention the requests of Our Lady—nor the consecration of Russia, nor the devotion of the first Saturdays—but says:

[…] Also welcoming many requests from the People of God, I wish to entrust, in a special way, the nations in conflict to Our Lady. As I said Sunday at the end of the Angelus prayer, March 25, Solemnity of the Annunciation, I intend to perform a solemn Act of consecration of humanity, and particularly of Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary4.

Let us recall that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary carried out by Pius XII in 1942 (with a text of another elevation, but which was not what Our Lady had requested) was immediately followed by a significant turn in the course of the hostilities – which prepared the end of the war – but did not stop the terrible progression of Communism: the Yalta agreements delivering Eastern Europe to the communists, Communists invading China and Southeast Asia, the purging in France, wars in Algeria and Vietnam, infiltration of the Church and its consequences, etc., and now the neo-Communism of globalism.

The consecration carried out on March 25, 2022, certainly goes further, but it does not yet fully meet the demands of Heaven.

Whatever the results—for there will certainly be some ‑ let us continue, for our part, to console Our Lady and to respond to her requests at our level: daily rosary, reparative Communion on the first Saturdays, offering of the sacrifices of our daily duties to her Immaculate Heart for the conversion of sinners.

2. The “Demos” Report: Assessment of a Pontificate

March 13, 2022, was the ninth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis ‑ who thus entered the tenth year of his pontificate.

His health difficulties having increased over the past year5 ‑ he has been 85 since December 17, 2021 ‑ Roman circles are starting to talk about his succession.

To this end, an anonymous memorandum, signed “Demos6”, very severe on the current pontificate and which has the merit of lucidity, was addressed to the cardinals at the beginning of Lent. The text was published on the blog of the famous vaticanist Sandro Magister, who does not exclude that the very serious document emanates from a cardinal.

It is divided into two parts: “The Vatican today”, and “The next conclave”.

The commentators, from all schools – with the exception of Father Spadaro S.J., director of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica and very close to Francis – agree that this pontificate is disastrous from many points of view, a real catastrophe for the Church.

Here are the main excerpts from this memorandum, with some comments.

A. The Vatican Today

+. Previously, it was said: Roma locuta est, causa finita, Rome has spoken, the cause is finished.

Today we say: Roma loquitur, confusio augetur, Rome speaks, confusion increases.

[At the same time, some guilty silences:] the German synod speaks of homosexuality, of women priests, of Communion for the divorced; the papacy is silent. Cardinal Hollerich rejects Catholic teaching on sexuality; the papacy is silent. It is silent regarding the scandals and at the same time persecutes the traditional Mass.

+. The Christocentric dimension of the teaching is weakened, Christ is removed from the center. Rome itself seems confused about the importance of strict monotheism; she thus refers to a broader concept of divinity which is not quite pantheism, but which resembles a variant of Hindu pantheism. Demos denounces the cult rendered to the Pachamama, goddess of the earth [placed on the papal altar in Saint Peter, during the Amazon synod in 2019].

This judgment may seem excessive. It is not so. The Osservatore Romano, an unofficial organ of the Holy See, flattered itself with quoting the following reflection by Mrs. Vandana Shiva, Indian militant feminist, alternative Nobel Prize winner in 1993: “When I read the encyclical Laudato si’ by Pope Francis on ecology and sustainable development, I felt like reading our ancient Vedic texts, especially Atharvaveda, on our duty to respect the Earth and all its creatures.”7

+. The change in personnel at the Academy for Life has had unheard-of consequences: some members justify assisted suicide, others support abortion.

+. The pope often rules by papal decrees which deprive those affected of any possibility of appeal.

+. The pope enjoys weak support among seminarians and young priests, and widespread division exists within the Vatican Curia.

+. The Vatican’s financial situation is serious. The last ten years have been in deficit. Before Covid, it was 20 million euros per year; since Covid, from 30 to 35 million per year, not counting the ongoing trials of ten people for financial malfeasance.

+. The political prestige of the Vatican is at an all-time low. The political influence of Pope Francis and the Vatican is negligible. Decisions and political orientations are limited to “political correctness”.

B. The Next Conclave, and Guidelines for the Future Pope

+. The College of Cardinals has been weakened by eccentric appointments, and has not met since 2014 (eight years!) when they met to discuss Communion for remarried divorcees. Many cardinals do not know each other, which adds an extra dimension of unpredictability to the upcoming conclave.

+. Since Vatican II, Catholic authorities have often underestimated the hostile power of secularization, of the world, of the flesh, of the devil, especially in the West8; and overestimated the influence and power of the Catholic Church.

The Church is weaker than 50 years ago: the number of believers has declined, as has Mass attendance. Many religious orders are in decline or have disappeared.

+. The new pope’s first task will be to restore doctrinal clarity in matters of faith and morals and to ensure that the first criterion for the appointment of bishops is the acceptance of Apostolic Tradition.

To give doctrinal authority to national or continental synods would constitute a new danger for the unity of the Church, given, for example, that the German Church adopts doctrinal points of view which are not shared by the other Churches, and which are not compatible with Apostolic Tradition. If no correction of these heresies comes from Rome, the Church will be reduced to a vague federation of local Churches, with different visions, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model than an Orthodox one.

+. The possibility of an apostolic visitation within the Jesuit Order should be taken seriously. They face catastrophic numerical decline and moral decline.

+. We must look at the decline of Catholics and the expansion of Protestantism in South America. It was hardly mentioned at the Amazon synod.

+. Continuing financial difficulties will be a significant problem, though far less serious than the doctrinal and spiritual threats facing the Church, especially in Europe.

3. Deaf to Criticism, Francis Accelerates Reforms

Jean-Marie Guénois, a religious columnist at Le Figaro, cannot be called a traditionalist, but he is a realist, and generally very informed about what is happening in the Vatican. Here are the main excerpts from an article he published on Pope Francis’s reform plans9. We summarize his comments by quoting, most of the time, the journalist’s own words.

* Reform of the Curia

Since 2013, the pope has in view a vast reform of the curia. It will come into force on June 5, the day of Pentecost, already arousing a lot of internal resistance:

1. All ministries (congregations) are placed on the same plane, which means the abolition of hierarchies within Vatican congregations.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was first, is even mentioned after the Dicastery for Evangelization and before a new Dicastery for Charity and Humanitarian Works.

Comment: Regarding the Dicastery for Evangelization, which replaced the illustrious missionary congregation of the Propaganda, it must be understood that the word “evangelization” is not here synonymous with mission. Modernists have hijacked the meaning of all words. The Pope’s appointment of Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as head of this Dicastery since 2019 clearly indicates the radical change in direction.

In Corrispondenza Romana of December 11, 2019, historian Cristina Siccardi would write:

With the arrival of Cardinal Tagle, the original spirit of the missionary nature of the Church, so masterfully structured by the Propaganda Fide, will disappear; because the new prefect has a clearly conciliar physiognomy, and at the same time he is a follower of ecological and integral conversion, where the spirit of Assisi and the spirit of Abu Dhabi converge in the new humanism, in the new way of feeling universal brotherhood, where everyone can think about religion as they see fit. Tagle also shares with the pope a visceral attention to Mother Earth, and an unrealistic and haphazard reception of the migrating masses.

In this context, we understand that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is relegated to the background.

Let’s continue to summarize Jean-Marie Guénois:

2. Another key point imposed by the pope, but bitterly debated by important cardinals: a layman, man or woman, will henceforth be able to direct a Vatican Congregation. This office was previously reserved for bishops and cardinals for fundamental theological reasons relating to the very constitution of the Catholic Church10.

3. The curia is decapitated: the “Secretary of State”, who until then was like the pope’s prime minister, and patron of the Roman curia, loses this primacy and is no more than a secretary general with the sole function of coordinating the various Congregations, which clearly reinforces the power of the pope. He decides almost everything.

* Synodal Effervescence

The “synod” is indeed the great reform of Francis. It wants to instill a collective, democratic spirit, associating the faithful, men and women, at all levels of governance of the Catholic Church: parish, diocese, episcopal conference, Holy See.

For that purpose, he launched in 2021 a special synod on synodality, which is taking place in all the dioceses during the year 2022. A final and decisive session will take place in Rome in October 2023. It will vote on proposals that Francis intends to implement at the beginning of 2024.

Inspired by the governance of the Orthodox Churches but also that of Protestant Churches, this revolution is deeply worrying in Rome, in view of the ongoing experience of a local synod in the German Church, which competes with reformist audacity: marriage of priests, reception homosexual people, women’s place. The Vatican seems to have lost control over this initiative. This does not prevent Francis from having appointed as rapporteur for the next Roman synod a prelate supporting the German synod: Msgr. Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, a Jesuit he created cardinal in 2019. This arouses strong opposition within of the curia: in mid-March, Cardinal George Pell summoned the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene officially against the words of Bishop Hollerich and the German Synod.

Comment: The name of Cardinal Hollerich is to be remembered, alongside that of Cardinal Tagle (supra), because he is a rising personality and is particularly revolutionary. During interviews granted to La Croix on January 20, and to Katolische Nachrichten Agentur on January 27, he declared to be particularly favorable to the priestly ordination of married men; to changing our way of seeing sexuality (“we had a rather repressed vision”) and of judging homosexuality (“the Church’s positions on the sinfulness of homosexuality are wrong; the time has come to change doctrine”); to Eucharistic Communion given to Protestants; the need to change the discourse on abortion because it is no longer followed, etc. He will be the reporter of the next Roman synod concluding all the national synods.

* Against Going Back

Last September, to Slovak Jesuits he met in Bratislava, the pope spoke of his “suffering” at seeing an “ideology of going backwards” take hold in the Church, because “freedom is frightening”.

It was to put a stop to this “ideology of going backwards” that he promulgated his Motu Proprio on July 16, 2021, Traditionis Custodes against the traditional Mass, in order to stop the development of parishes according to the Tridentine rite. “I will continue on this path”, he confided to the same Jesuits, rebelling against the young priests who, “barely ordained”, ask the bishop for authorization “to celebrate in Latin”. They must be “landed on the earth”, he insisted.

And on April 21, 2022, receiving Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort and several French bishops, he confirmed that the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter could only celebrate the Tridentine rite in their homes [not in diocesan churches as has most often been the case until now], and should all agree to concelebrate in the new rite, at least once a year for the Chrism Mass. The noose is tightening11.

To top it off, on May 28, 2022, the pro-LGBT Bishop Bertram Maler, Bishop of Augsburg, conferred the diaconate on 10 seminarians from the Wigratzbad Seminary of the Society of St. Peter. The German branch Pro Missa Tridentina of the Una Voce Federation expressed its “surprise” by recalling that in June 2021 Bishop Maler declared on German state television that he was ready to bless homosexual unions. On the official website of the seminary, on May 28, we read the following press release from the authorities of the Fraternity of Saint Peter: “We are very grateful to Bishop Maler for his benevolence and his concern12”.

Once again, Archbishop Lefebvre was clairvoyant:

This transfer of authority, that is what is serious, that is what is extremely serious. It is not enough to say: “We have not changed anything in practice13”. This transfer is very serious, because the intention of these authorities is to destroy Tradition14.

The subjects do not make make the superiors, but the superiors make the subjects15.

We feel the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and help us to guard against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi16.

4. Pope to Visit Kazakhstan for Congress of World Religions

The news is given by the Vatican News website17:

Pope Francis has expressed his intention to visit Kazakhstan on the occasion of the 7th Congress of Leaders [!] of World and Traditional Religions which will be held on September 14 and 15 in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan [formerly Astana].

The information, first given by the Kazakh presidency, was confirmed by the director of the Press Room of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. Francis broached the subject during a video-conference interview with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The first Congress of World and Traditional Religions was held in Astana in 2003, inspired by the “Day of Prayer for Peace” convened in Assisi by John Paul II in January 2002, in order to reaffirm the positive contribution of the different religious traditions to dialogue and harmony between peoples and nations after the tensions following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

At this first congress, the Holy See was represented by the Slovak Cardinal Joseph Tomko, then president of the Pontifical Council for the Evangelization of Peoples. At successive congresses, the French cardinals Roger Etchegaray and Jean-Louis Tauran took the Vatican delegations.

The upcoming Seventh Interfaith Congress will be themed “The Role of World Leaders and Traditional Religions in the Socio-Spiritual Development of Humanity in the Post-Pandemic Period.”

The SSPX News website comments18:

These Congresses are a copy of Assisi, a reinforced version, both in terms of the multifaceted participation of “religions” and the effacement of the Catholic Church, which finds itself drowned among the guests, rubbing shoulders with the false gods, and being lowered to their level. It is difficult to carry the insult further to the Incarnate Word, the only true God with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

May the trivialization of these meetings which lower the Catholic religion and its Founder never find us indifferent, but may we always protest vigorously to defend the honor of Christ and of our Mother the Church, his Spouse.

Quo vadis? Peter, Peter, where are you going?

It will be interesting to know the reaction of Bishop Schneider. The latter is not only the auxiliary bishop of Astana but also the secretary of the Kazakh Episcopal Conference19.

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Bishop Schneider concelebrating new Mass at the episcopal conference in Kazakhstan

November 20, 2019, Bishop Schneider signed a document, together with the other bishops, in which he declared:

The Bishops and Ordinaries of Kazakhstan hail the establishment of the Council of Traditional Christian Confessions of Kazakhstan, which was held on May 13, 2019, in the synod hall of the spiritual, cultural, and administrative center of the Kazakhstan metropolitan district of the Russian Orthodox Church of the city of Nur-Sultan20.

On January 13, 2020, he personally participated in the ecumenical meeting of this council. The official website of the Catholic Church of Kazakhstan issued a statement:

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On May 13, an important step was taken towards a real dialogue between the Christian denominations in Kazakhstan: the Council of Traditional Christian Denominations was created, which includes the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. And today, January 13, 2020, the first official meeting of the Council was held in the spiritual and cultural center of the metropolitan district of Nur-Sultan, which was attended by a large delegation from the Catholic Church, which included the Nuncio Apostolic to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan and bishop of the Holy Trinity diocese in Almaty, […] the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Maria in Astana, Athanasius Schneider; […]

The importance of “awakening religious feelings in the hearts of new generations” was also highlighted as one of the ways to deal with “individualistic, selfish and conflicting tendencies, as well as blind radicalism and extremism”. In addition to the above, the Council has set itself many other objectives arising from these intentions. To achieve these goals, the Council “in cooperation with other traditional religions of the world, within the framework of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, established by First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, intends to promote fraternal dialogue and solidarity between religions and cultures as a concrete and effective contribution to support the creation of a universal family based on human, moral, spiritual values, as well as on fundamental and inviolable principles21.

5. The Pyramid of Peace in Astana

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We read on the site the official tourism site of Astana the following text that speaks for itself22:

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, also translated as Pyramid of Peace and Accord, is a 253 ft tall building in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The structure was built by Sembol Construction at a cost of 8.74 billion Kazakh tenge (about $58 million) and was opened in late 2006.

The pyramid part of the building is 203 ft. high and rests on a block of earth 40 ft. high. […] The structure is made up of five “levels” of triangles, each triangle measuring 39 ft. on a side. […] Engineers had to design the building to resist expansion and contraction due to temperature variations of over 144 F, from -40 F to over 104 F—causing the building to expand up to 1 ft.

The Pyramid was specifically built to house the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It contains accommodations for different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, and other beliefs. It also houses a 1,500-seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new “university of civilization”, a library and a research center on ethnic and geographical groups of Kazakhstan. […] The building is intended as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence, and the promotion of faith and human equality.

The Pyramid of Peace expresses the spirit of Kazakhstan, where cultures, traditions and representatives of various nationalities coexist in peace, harmony and agreement. Bathed in the glow of gold and pale blue glass (colors taken from the flag of Kazakhstan), 200 delegates from the world’s major religions and faiths will meet every three years in a circular chamber—inspired by the meeting room of the Security Council United Nations in New York.

Translation by A.A.

1 — July 13, 1917; confirmed by Our Lord in May and June 1930.

2 — June 29, 1929.

3 — Sister Lucia to Bishop Hnilica, May 14, 1982; remarks reported by Msgr. Hnilica to Brother François de Marie des Anges (of the CRC), during an interview on November 10, 1982, and reported by the said brother in two works: in Jean-Paul 1er le pape du secret, CRC, 2007, p. 423 and in Fatima, salvation of the world, CRC, 2007, p. 345.

4 — Letter from Pope Francis to bishops around the world, March 23, 2022.

5 — Very heavy surgery on the intestines on July 16, 2021 (acute diverticulitis) forcing him to a very strict diet; acute inflammation of the ligaments of the right knee (gonalgia), a direct consequence of a structural problem of sciatica in the hip which he must correct with every step. He sometimes has to get help to walk, and even uses a wheelchair. Surgery would be too risky (source: Jean-Marie Guénois, article reported below).

6 — A name meaning “people” in Greek.

7Osservatore Romano of 1 December 2020, n° 48, p. 8.

8 — This was John XXIII’s great illusion at the opening of the Council: there are no more enemies, no more combat (Editor’s note).

9http://ilsismografo.blogspot.com/2022/05/vaticano-conteste-sourd-aux-critiques.html

10 ‑ It must even be said that it is an attack on the divine constitution of the Church (Editor’s note).

11https://laportelatine.org/actualite/traditionis-custodes-enieme-precision-et-confusion.

12 — References: Medias-Presse-Info as of May 8, 2022 (announcing the ordination), and the “Official Page” of Wigratzbad Seminary as of May 28, confirming that the ordination took place.

13 — That is what all those who joined at the start say to justify themselves.

14 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference at Écône on October 8, 1988.

15 — Archbishop Lefebvre, in Fideliter n° 70, p. 6.

16 — Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to Pope John Paul II, June 2, 1988.

17https://www.vaticannews.va/fr/pape/news/2022-04/francois-kazakhstan-pour-le-congres-religions-mondiales.html

18https://fsspx.news/fr/news-events/news/le-pape-se-rendra-au-kazakhstan-pour-le-congres-des-religions-mondiales-74065.

19— He was elected for four years at the meeting of the episcopal conference in November 2019, so he will still be secretary when the pope comes.

20— November 20, 2019. https://catholic-kazakhstan.org/en/communique-of-the-38th-plenary-of-the-conference-of-catholic-bishops-of-kazakhstan/

21https://catholic-kazakhstan.org/en/the-first-meeting-of-the-council-of-traditional-christian-confessions-this-year-held-in-nur-sultan/

22https://www.astana-kazakhstan.net/attractions-2/culture-and-entertainment/palace-of-peace-and-reconciliation/

The Ladder of Paradise – Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

The Ladder of Paradise

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Simple Method to Reach the Heights of Mystical Life

by Guigues the Carthusian

(XI Century)

We present here extracts of a text from the Middle Ages, published by “Les Éditions du Sel” in Avrillé, to raise your souls above the turmoils of this world, who rejected the Kingship of Our Lord. Spirituality is the strength of the Catholics in times of crisis.


The Four Degrees of the Spiritual Exercises

One day, while I was thinking about the exercises of the spiritual man, I suddenly saw four degrees: 1) reading, 2) meditation, 3) prayer, 4) contemplation.

This is the ladder of the contemplative souls, which takes them up from earth to Heaven.

It has few rungs: it is very high, however, and incredibly long. The base rests on the earth; the top surpasses the clouds and penetrates the depths of the Heavens. From these rungs the name, number, order and use are distinct. If one carefully studies their properties, functions and hierarchy, soon this careful study will seem short and easy, so useful and gentle will it be.

Reading is the attentive study of Sacred Scripture, made by an applied mind.

Meditation is the careful investigation, with the help of reason, of a hidden truth.

Prayer is the elevation of the heart to God to ward off evil and obtain good.

Contemplation is the elevation to God of the soul delighted in the savor of eternal joys.

**

Having defined the four rungs, let us look at the function of each of them.

The ineffable sweetness of the blessed life – reading seeks it, meditation finds it, prayer asks for it, contemplation savors it. This is the very word of the Lord: “Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you”. Seek while reading, you will find while meditating. Knock while praying, you will enter while contemplating.

I would like to say that reading brings substantial food to the mouth, meditation grinds and chews it, prayer tastes it, and contemplation is the very sweetness that rejoices and makes you happy. Reading stops at the bark, meditation goes into the marrow, prayer expresses the desire, but contemplation revels in the savor of the sweetness obtained.

For a better understanding, here is an example among many others. I read the Gospel: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”; short maxim, but full of meaning, infinitely sweet. To the thirsty soul it offers itself like a bunch of grapes. The soul looks at it and says: this word will be good for me. Gather yourself my heart, try to understand and above all to find this purity. Oh how precious and desirable it must be, since it purifies those it inhabits, and has the promise of the divine vision – eternal life, since the Holy Scriptures never cease to praise it!

Then, the desire to understand better invades the soul: and it seizes the mystical bunch, it gathers it up, it crushes it, it puts it in the press, and it says to reason: look and seek what it is, tell me how one acquires this so precious and desirable purity of heart.

II  Meditation

The soul then approaches to meditate on the text. What then does attentive meditation do? It is not enough for it to approach: it penetrates the text, it goes to the bottom, it scrutinizes the hidden corners. And first of all, it notices that the Lord did not say: “Blessed are those who have a body, but a pure heart”, for it would be little to have hands free from evil works if the mind were stained with perverse thoughts. The Prophet had already said, “Who will climb the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in his sanctuary? He who has innocent hands and a pure heart.” (Ps 23:3).

The meditation notes again what powerful desire the Prophet called this purity of heart, since he said in his prayer, “Lord, create in me a pure heart, for if iniquity is in my heart, the Lord will not be able to hear me”. With what care Job watched over this intimate purity, he who said: “With my eyes I made a pact not to think even of a virgin” (Job 31:1). This holy man had to close his eyes to useless things so that he could not see what he would unconsciously desire afterwards.

Having thus scrutinized purity of heart, one continues one’s meditation by examining the reward promised to him. O glorious and delectable reward! Contemplate the longed-for Face of the Lord, beautiful beyond all the beauty of the children of men! The Lord, no longer abject and vile in that appearance with which his mother in the Synagogue clothed him, but adorned with immortality, crowned with the diadem which his Father imposed on him on the day of his resurrection and glory, “the day which the Lord made“. And in his meditation, the soul thinks of how full that vision will be, how overflowing his joy will be… “I shall be filled with joy as I contemplate your glory, says the Prophet” (Ps 16:15).

Ah! What generous and abundant wine flows from the little grape! What a fire has been kindled by the spark! As she lays down on the anvil of meditation, the small mass of metal, that short text: “Blessed are those who are pure of heart, for they shall see God”. And how much more would it lengthen if it were worked by an experienced servant of God! Yes, the well is deep, but, poor novice, I was only able to draw from it a few droplets.

**

What will she do, the poor soul, burning with the desire of this purity that she cannot attain? The more it seeks it, the more it thirsts for it; the more it thinks about it, the more it suffers from not possessing it, for meditation excites the desire for this innocence without giving it water. No, it is neither reading nor meditation that makes one savor its sweetness: it must be given from above.

The wicked as well as the good read and meditate; pagan philosophers, guided by reason, have glimpsed the sovereign Good, but because “knowing God, they did not glorify him as God” (Rom 1:21), and proud of their strength, they said: “We will exalt our tongue, our goods are ours, who is our master?” (Ps 11:5) They did not deserve to find what they had glimpsed. “Their thoughts vanished” (Rom 1:21) and “all their wisdom was devoured” (Ps 106:27), for it came from a human source, not from that Spirit who alone gives true wisdom, which is that savory knowledge which, uniting itself to the soul, pours out priceless sweetness, joy and comfort, and of which it is written: Wisdom does not enter the soul that wants evil. It proceeds from God alone. The Lord has entrusted to many the office of baptism, to few the power to forgive sins, he has reserved this power for himself. As St. John says of him, “This is He who baptizes,” so we can say: this is He who alone gives the savory wisdom that enables the soul to taste it. The text is offered to many, but few receive wisdom. The Lord infuses it to whom He will and how He will.

III  Prayer

The soul understood: this knowledge so longed for, this sweet experience, it will never reach them by its own strength alone; the more its heart rushes forward, the more God appears to it. Then it humbles itself and takes refuge in prayer.

O my Lord, whom only pure hearts can see, I have sought, through reading and meditation, true purity so that I may become able to know you a little. “I have sought your face, O my Lord, I have desired to see Thy adorable Face” (Ps 26:8). “For a long time I meditated in my heart and in my meditation a fire was kindled, the desire to know Thou more and more” (Ps 38:4). When you break the bread of Scripture, I already know you, but the more I know you, O my Lord, the more I want to know you, not only in the crust of the letter, but in the reality of union. And this gift, O my Lord, I implore, not by my merits, but by your mercy. It is true, I am an unworthy sinner, but don’t the little dogs themselves eat the crumbs that have fallen from the master’s table? To my distressed soul, O God, give a deposit on the promised inheritance, at least a drop of heavenly dew to quench my thirst, for I burn with love, O my Lord.

IV  Contemplation

With such ardent words, the soul inflames its desire and calls the Bridegroom by incantation of tenderness. And the Bridegroom, Whose gaze rests on the just and whose ears are so attentive to their prayers that He does not even wait for them to be fully expressed, the Bridegroom suddenly interrupts this prayer: He comes to the greedy soul, He flows into it, moistened with the heavenly dew, anointed with precious perfumes; He restores the tired soul; He feeds it, fainting; He waters it, parched; He makes it forget the earth, and from His presence He detaches it from everything, marvelously He strengthens it, invigorates it and intoxicates it.

In certain coarse acts, the soul is so strongly chained by lust that it loses its reason and the whole man becomes carnal. In this sublime contemplation, on the contrary, the instincts of the body are so consumed and absorbed by the soul that the flesh no longer fights the spirit in any way, and man becomes all spiritual.


What Are the Signs That We Recognize the Coming of the Holy Ghost

O my Lord, how will I know the time of this visit? At what sign will I recognize Your coming? Are sighs and tears the messengers and witnesses of this consoling joy? What indeed is the relationship between consolation and sighs, joy and tears? But can we say that they are tears? Is it not rather the intimate dew poured from above, overflowing, to purify the inner man and overflowing? In baptism the external ablution signifies and operates the internal purification of the child: here, on the contrary, the intimate purification precedes the external ablution and is manifested through it. O happy tears, new baptism of the soul through which the fire of sins is extinguished! “Blessed are thou who weep, thus you will laugh” (Mt 5:5).

In these tears, O my soul, acknowledge your Bridegroom, unite yourself to your desire. To His torrent of delights intoxicate yourself, suckle with the milk and honey of His consolation. These sighs and tears are the marvelous gifts of the Bridegroom, the drink that He measures out for the day and night, the bread that strengthens thy heart, sweeter in its bitterness than the honeycomb.

O Lord Jesus, if they are so sweet, the tears that flow from a heart that desires you, what will be the joy of a soul to whom You show Yourself in the clear eternal vision! If it is so sweet to weep while desiring you, what a delight it is to enjoy you!

But why desecrate before all, these intimate secrets? Why in banal words try to translate inexpressible tenderness? One who has not experienced them, will not understand. One reads these mysterious colloquies only from the book of experience, or is instructed in them only by divine action. The page is closed, insipid the book to the one whose heart does not know how to illuminate the external letter with the sense of intimate experience.

VI  The Spouse Retires for a While Shut Up, My Soul, You’re Talking Too Much

It was good up there, with Peter and John, contemplating the glory of the Bridegroom. Oh, stay with Him for a long time, and if He had wanted to, raise not two or three tents, but only one to dwell in together in His joy.

But already the Bridegroom cried out, “Let me go, behold, the dawn is coming up”: you have received the bright grace and the visit so longed for. And He blesses you, and like the angel to Jacob in the past, He mortifies the sinew of your thigh (Gn. 32:25,31), He changes your name from Jacob to Israel, and behold, He seems to withdraw. The long-awaited Bridegroom quickly hides Himself, the vision of contemplation fades away, His sweetness vanishes.

But He, the Bridegroom, remains present in your heart and governs it, always.

*

Fear not, O wife, do not despair and do not think yourself despised if sometimes your Bridegroom veils His face. All this is for your own good; both His departure and His coming are a gain. It is for your sake that He comes and for your sake that He withdraws. He comes to comfort you, He withdraws to guard you, lest, intoxicated with His sweet presence, you should be proud. If the Bridegroom were always substantially present, would you not be tempted to despise your companions and to believe that this presence is due to you, when it is a pure gift granted by the Bridegroom, to whom He wills and when He wills, over which you have no right? The proverb says: “Familiarity breeds contempt“. To avoid this disrespectful familiarity He shuns you. Absent, you desire Him more strongly; your desire makes you seek Him more ardently, and your expectation more tenderly finds it.

And then, if consolation were here on earth all the time – though beside eternal glory it is enigma and shadow – we would perhaps believe that we have here the permanent city and we would look less for the future City. Oh, no, let us not take exile for the fatherland, and the deposit for the inheritance.

The Bridegroom comes, He goes, consoling, desolating; He lets us taste a little of His ineffable sweetness; but before it enters you, He shuns, He is gone. Now this is to teach us to fly to the Lord. Like the eagle, He spreads his wings widely over us, and provokes us to soar. And He said, “You have tasted a little of the sweetness of my gentleness. Would you like to eat some? Run, fly, to my perfumes, lift up your hearts to the top, where I am at the right hand of the Father, where you will see Me, no longer as a figure or enigma, but face to face, in the full, total joy that no one will ever be able to take from you”.

**

Spouse of Christ, understand this well: when the Bridegroom retires, He is not far from you. You no longer see Him, but He keeps looking at you. You can never escape His sight, ever. His messengers, the angels, were spying on your life when He hid, and they would soon have accused you if they saw you light and unclean. He is jealous, the Bridegroom, and if your soul would admit another love and seek to please someone, He would immediately forsake you to unite with the more faithful virgins. He is delicate, noble, rich, the most beautiful of the children of men: therefore he wants in His wife [your soul] all beauty, and if He sees in you a stain or a wrinkle, He will turn away His eyes, for He cannot suffer any impurity. Therefore be chaste, reverent, and humble before Him, and you shall receive His visit often.

***

I got carried away with my speech, I was too long. But how can I resist the training of such a fertile and gentle subject? These beautiful things have captivated me. But let’s summarize for clarity:

All the degrees on our scale stand together and depend on each other:

Reading is the foundation; it provides the material and commits you to meditation.

Meditation carefully searches for what to desire, it digs and uncovers the desired treasure; but unable to grasp it, it excites us to pray.

Prayer, rising with all its strength to the Lord, asks for the desirable treasure of contemplation.

Finally, contemplation comes to reward the work of her three sisters and intoxicates the altered soul of God with the sweet heavenly dew.

Reading is therefore an external exercise. It is the level of the beginners.

Meditation, an inner act of the intelligence. It is the rung of those who progress.

Prayer, the action of a soul full of desire. It is the rung of those who are God’s.

Contemplation surpasses all feeling and knowledge. It is the rung of the blessed.

VII  Reading, Meditation, Prayer and Contemplation Support Each Other

Reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation are so strongly linked to each other, and help each other so much that the first are of no use without the last, and that one never, or by great exception, reaches the latter only by passing through the latter. What is the use of spending our time reading the lives and writings of the saints if, in meditating and ruminating on them, we do not draw the juice from them, and make it our own and go down to the depths of our hearts? Vain will be our readings, if we do not take care to compare our lives with those of the saints and if we allow ourselves to be carried away by the curiosity of reading rather than by the desire to imitate their examples.

On the other hand, how can we keep on the right path and avoid errors or childishness, how can we remain within the just limits set by our fathers without serious reading or learned teaching? For in the term of reading we understand teaching; is it not commonly said: the book I read, although sometimes it was received through the teaching of a master?

In the same way, it will be vain to meditate on one of our duties, if it is not completed and strengthened by the prayer that obtains the grace to fulfill that duty, for “every exquisite gift, every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (Jac. 1:17), without whom we can do nothing. He works in us, but not entirely without us, for, says the Apostle (I Cor. 3:9): “we are cooperators with God”. He deigns to take us as helpers of His works and, when He knocks at the door, He asks us to open to Him the secret of our will and consent.

To the Samaritan woman the Savior asked for this will, when He said to her: “Call your husband”; that is to say, here is my grace; you, apply your free will. He excited her to prayer by saying: “If you knew the gift of God and the one who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would certainly ask Him for the living water”. For this woman, as though instructed by meditation, said in her heart, “This water would be good for me”; and inflamed with longing, she began to pray: “O Lord, give me this water that I may never thirst again and come to this well”. The divine word heard, invited her heart to meditate, and then to pray. How would she have been inclined to pray if the meditation had not ignited her desire? And, on the other hand, what use would it have been to her to see spiritual goods in meditation if she had not obtained them through prayer?

What, then, is fruitful meditation? That which blossoms in fervent prayer, which almost ordinarily obtains the most suave contemplation.

*

Thus, without meditation, reading will be arid.

Without reading, meditation will be full of errors.

Without meditation, prayer will be lukewarm.

Without prayer, meditation will be unfruitful and vain.

When prayer and devotion are united, they obtain contemplation. On the contrary, it would be a rare exception and even a miracle to obtain contemplation without prayer.

The Lord, whose power is infinite and whose mercy marks all His works, can well turn stones into children of Abraham, by forcing hard and rebellious hearts to want good. A prodigy of His grace: He pulls the bull by the horns, as one says vulgarly, when, unexpectedly, He melts with a quick blow in the soul. He is the sovereign Master; and so He did in Saint Paul and in a few other chosen ones. But we must not wait for such prodigies and tempt God. Let us do what is asked of us: let us read and meditate on the divine Law, let us pray to the Lord to help so much weakness, to look at so much misery. “Ask and you will receive, He Himself told us, seek and you will find knock and you will be opened. The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and it is the violent who prevail” (Mt 7:7; 11:12).

**

Blessed is he who, detached from creatures, is constantly practicing to climb these four degrees! Blessed is he who winds all he possesses to acquire the field where the treasure so desirable of contemplation lies, and to taste how sweet the Lord is! Applied to the first degree, prudent to the second, fervent to the third, delighted to the last, of virtue in virtue he ascends in his heart the steps that lead him to the vision of the Lord in Sion. Blessed at last is he who can stop at the top, if only for a moment, and say: I taste the grace of the Lord; behold, with Peter and John on the mountain I contemplate His glory; I have gone with Jacob to Rachel’s caresses.

But let him take heed, this happy one, not to choose sadly from the heavenly contemplation in the darkness of the abyss, from the divine vision in the worldly vanities and impure fancies of the flesh.

The poor human soul is weak, it cannot sustain for long the radiant splendor of the Truth: it will therefore be necessary for it to descend one or two degrees and rest quietly in one or the other, according to her will or to the graces she receives, absolutely remaining as near from God as possible.

O sad condition of human weakness! Reason and Holy Scripture agree that these four degrees lead to perfection, and that spiritual men must work to practice them: but who does this? A lot begin. A few goes to the end. May God permit us to belong to this few number of souls!

VIII  Of the Soul That Loses the Grace of Contemplation

Four obstacles can prevent us from climbing these degrees: 1) inevitable necessity, 2) the usefulness of a good work, 3) human weakness, 4) worldly vanity.

The first is excusable; the second, acceptable; the third, pitiful; the fourth, guilty.

Yes, for him who departs from his holy resolution out of worldly vanity, it would be better to have always ignored the glory of God than to refuse it after having known it. How can one excuse such a fault? To this unfaithful person the Lord reproves justly: “What could I have done that I did not do for you?” (Is 5:4). You were nothing, I gave you being; a sinner and slave of the devil, I redeemed you; with the ungodly you wandered through the world, I took you back by choice of love, I gave you My grace and established you in My presence; in your heart I chose My dwelling place: and you despised Me; My invitations, My love, I in the end. You threw everything away to run after your lusts.

O God, infinitely good, sweet, gentle; tender friend and cautious adviser: how foolish and foolhardy is he who repels You and drives from his heart such a humble and compassionate guest! Wretched and damnable exchange: drive out his Creator to hospitalize impure and perverse thoughts; deliver the dear, closed retreat of the Holy Ghost, still embalmed with the recent heavenly joys, to low thoughts and sin; profane with adulterous desires the still warm remains of the Bridegroom. O shocking ungodliness! Those ears which a short while ago listened to the colloquies that man cannot repeat, are now filled with lies and calumnies; those eyes, purified by holy tears, are pleasing to vanities; those lips barely cease to sing the divine epithalam and the burning canticles of love which united the husband and the wife introduced into the mystical cellar, and there they say vanities, trickery and slander. O Lord, preserve us from such falls!

If, however, human weakness in this misfortune causes you to fall, do not despair, frail soul; no, never despair, but run to the gentle Physician who “raises from the ground the needy and the poor from their dunghill” (Ps 112:7). He does not want the sinner to die. He will help you and heal you.

Conclusion

I have to close my letter. I pray the Lord to weaken today, to remove tomorrow from our soul every obstacle to contemplation. May He lead us from virtue to virtue to the top of the mysterious ladder to the vision of the Divinity in Sion. There, it is no longer drip by drip and intermittently that His chosen ones will taste the sweetness of this divine contemplation; but always flooded by this torrent of joy, they will possess forever the joy that no one can take away, the immutable peace, the peace in Him! O Gervais, my brother, when by the grace of the Lord you have reached the top of the mysterious ladder, remember me, and in your happiness, pray for me. Let the curtain be drawn to you, and let Him who hears say: Come!

The end