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

– 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.


– 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.


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.


– 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.


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 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.

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).

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

The Ladder of Paradise


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.


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

Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow

Devotion to the Holy Face and the Golden Arrow

​  Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (1816-1848)

  from Le Sel de la terre 110, Autumn 2019

1. A Life Hidden in God

Perrine ELUERE, who was to become Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre in the Carmelite Order, was born on October 4, 1816 in Rennes (French Britanny). Born into a family of twelve children, she lost her mother at the age of twelve and asked the Blessed Virgin to be her mother.

Deciding to become a nun, she had to wait several years before realizing her vocation and invoked Saint Martin of Tours for this intention. On November 11, 1839, her feast day, she left Rennes for the Carmel of Tours.

There she was favored with revelations from Christ, on the gravity of blasphemy and desecration of Sundays and the need to make reparation for so many crimes that directly offend God. Jesus taught her a prayer of reparation – The Golden Arrow and also asked for the establishment of a brotherhood of reparation. He entrusted France to her prayers.

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre lived in great devotion to the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Very humble, helpful, and patient, she accepted the most modest tasks with obedience, following the example of the Child Jesus.

Put to the test by her superiors, to whom she had opened up about the revelations she had received, she always showed obedience and humility. Stricken with pulmonary tuberculosis, she died in the odor of sanctity on July 8, 1848, in her thirty-third year, after a painful agony.

Six months after her death, in January 1849, a miracle in Rome popularized devotion to the Holy Face throughout Christendom and encouraged the saintly man from Tours, Mr. Dupont, to exhibit the image in his salon, which quickly became a very popular oratory because of the miracles that multiplied there.

But even before that, Mr. Dupont, who knew Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre personally, advised everyone to pray at her tomb to ask for graces. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, in turn, had a special devotion to the Carmelite nun of Tours, from whom she drew inspiration for her childlike way.

2. Making Reparation for the Blasphemies and Offenses Against God

The Golden Arrow

On August 26, 1843, during the evening prayer, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre received the inspiration to spread a devotion named The Golden Arrow. The holy man from Tours, Mr. Dupont, who learned about it later, saw it as a response from Heaven, for he had prepared the feast of St. Louis (August 25) with a novena asking the holy king for his intercession and help in the fight against blasphemy in France. Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre reported to her Mother Superior in these words:

Our Lord opened His Heart to me, gathered the powers of my soul in it, and addressed these words to me: ‘My Name is blasphemed everywhere; even children blaspheme!’ “And He made me hear how this awful sin hurt His divine Heart more painfully than all the others; by blasphemy, the sinner curses Him to his face, attacks Him openly, annihilates the Redemption, and pronounces himself his condemnation and his judgment. Blasphemy is a poisoned arrow, which continually wounds His Heart: He told me that He wanted to give me a golden arrow to wound Him delightfully, and to heal the wounds of malice that sinners make Him.”

Here is the formula of praise that Our Lord, in spite of my great unworthiness, dictated to me for the reparation of blasphemies against his holy Name. He gave it to me like a golden arrow, assuring me that every time I say it, I will wound his Heart with a wound of love:

Golden Arrow:

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible, and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified forever in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most holy Sacrament of the Altar. So be it.

Our Lord, having given me this golden arrow, added: ‘Pay attention to this favor, for I will ask you to give an account.’”

At that moment it seemed to me that streams of grace for the conversion of sinners were coming out of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by this golden arrow.

Jesus’ Great Desire: to Glorify the Name of the Father

A month later (September 29, feast of St. Michael), the sister communicated to her Mother Superior:

Our Lord inspired me to join to the praise of the Golden Arrow some prayers to make reparation, by twenty-four adorations, the blasphemies professed at each hour of the day, and He was kind enough to let me know that He accepted this exercise. This divine Savior made me share in the desire He feels to see the Name of His Father glorified; He told me to apply myself to praising and blessing this adorable Name, in imitation of the angels who sing in heaven perpetually: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; and thus I will fulfill the order He gave me to honor His Heart and that of His holy Mother, for they are both wounded by blasphemy. He also made me understand that this would not prevent me from honoring Him in His mysteries, as I am accustomed to do, because in all the mysteries of His life His Heart has suffered for the sin of blasphemy.

Gravity of the Desecration of Sundays

On November 24, the sister relayed these words of Our Lord:

The earth is covered with crimes! The breaking of the first three commandments of God has angered My Father; the blasphemy of the Holy Name of God and the profanation of the Holy Day of Sunday have added to the measure of iniquity; these sins have reached the throne of God and provoked His wrath, which will be poured out if His Justice is not appeased. I desire, but with a strong desire, that a well-approved and well-organized association be formed to honor my Father’s name.


3. The Holy Face of Our Lord

Offering Jesus to His Father

On December 25, 1843, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre made an act of perfect donation to the Most Holy Child Jesus according to the extent of His will for the accomplishment of His designs to the glory of the Holy Name of God. From this date on, Jesus asked her to join devotion to His holy Face to acts of reparation against blasphemies:

He said to me, ‘Just as in a kingdom you can get everything you want with a silver coin marked with the effigy of the prince, so with the precious coin of My holy Humanity, which is my adorable Face, you will get everything you want in the kingdom of heaven’”.

It seems to me that we should only pray and present ourselves before the eternal Father with some merit of His Son in our hands, in order to offer it to Him and thus oblige Him to fulfill the admirable promise of our Lord: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, He will give it you.’ (Jn. 16:23). If we have no virtues to offer to God, let us offer Him all those of Jesus our Savior, who sanctified Himself for us. Let us offer His gentleness, humility, patience, obedience, poverty, fasts, vigils, and zeal for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls! Let us also offer His divine and effective prayers; He prayed during his mortal life; the Gospel says that He withdrew at night to pray; He prays in Heaven; He shows His wounds to His Father for us; finally He prays in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.”

O what an ineffable mystery! A Savior God praying for His creatures, and prayed to by these same creatures!”

Let us unite our prayers with those of the incarnate Word, and they will be answered; let us offer to the eternal Father the sacred Heart of Jesus, His adorable Face, and His divine wounds; let us offer His tears, His blood and His sweat; let us offer His travels, works, words, and silence, all that He suffered in each of His mysteries; finally, let us always have our eyes fixed on the Gift of God; let us search in this treasure unknown to the world; let us, if we can, enumerate all the goods we possess in Him, and we will soon be rich and enrich poor sinners: For we can offer the humility of Jesus for the conversion of the proud, His poverty for the avaricious, His mortification for the sensual, His zeal to glorify His Father for the blasphemers, finally all the accusations He suffered from the Jews saying He was violating the Sabbath law, for the conversion of the true violators of the holy day of Sunday.”

O gift of God that I have ignored for too long, You will be my only treasure from now on; I discover new riches in Thou every day.”

Importance of Reparation

On February 2, 1844, Jesus expressed again the great concerns of His Heart, the honor of His divine Father and that of His holy spouse:

O you who are My friends and My faithful children, see if there is a pain similar to Mine; My divine Father and My Spouse, the holy Church, the object of the delights of My Heart, are despised, outraged by My enemies. Will no one arise to console Me, by defending them against those who attack them? I can no longer remain in the midst of this ungrateful people; see the torrents of tears that flow from My eyes. Will I find no one to wipe them away, making reparation to the glory of My Father and asking for the conversion of the guilty?

To Intercede for Sinners

Another day, He showed me the multitude of those who continually fall into hell, inviting me in the most touching way to help these poor sinners, and making me understand the strict obligation of the Christian soul towards these blind wretches who are precipitating themselves into the eternal abyss and to whom His mercy would open their eyes, if charitable hearts interceded for them. He told me that if He would ask the rich for an account of the temporal good He had entrusted to them to help the needy, how much more would He ask a Carmelite, a religious soul, rich with all the goods of the heavenly Spouse, for a rigorous account of the use she had made of them to help unfortunate sinners? Then this amiable Savior, opening to me His immense treasures composed of the infinite merits of His life and passion, added: –‘My daughter, I give you my Face and My Heart, I give you My Blood, I give you My wounds: draw and pour! Draw and pour! Buy without money, My Blood is the price of souls. Oh, what a sorrow for My Heart to see that remedies that cost Me so much are despised! Ask My Father for as many souls as I shed drops of blood in My Passion.’”

Gravity of Blasphemy

“He made me understand that men are incapable of understanding the insult done to God by this sin of blasphemy; blasphemies pierce His heart and make Him a second Lazarus covered with wounds. He invited me to imitate the dogs who comforted poor Lazarus by coming to lick his wounds; I would do Him a great service by employing my tongue to glorify every day the most holy Name of God despised and blasphemed by sinners, without considering whether this exercise gave me interior consolations; it would be enough for me to think that I was healing His divine wounds and causing Him great satisfaction.”

The Holy Face of Christ Offended by Blasphemies

“I understood that, as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the sensitive object offered to our adoration to represent His immense love in the most holy Sacrament of the altar, so, in the work of reparation, the Face of Our Lord is the sensitive object offered to the adoration of the associates to repair the outrages of the blasphemers who attack the Divinity of which it is the figure, mirror, and expression. By the virtue of this adorable Face, presented to the eternal Father, we can appease His anger and obtain the conversion of the impious and blasphemers.”

“Our Lord made me see that the Church, His Spouse, is His mystical body, and that religion was the face of this body; then He showed me this face in the face of the enemies of His Name, and I saw that the blasphemers and the sectarians were renewing on the holy Face of Our Lord all the opprobrium of His Passion. I saw, thanks to this divine light, that the impious, by uttering evil words and blaspheming the holy Name of God, were spitting on the Face of the Savior and covering it with mud; that all the blows given by the sectarians to the holy Church, to religion, were the renewal of the many blows that the Face of Our Lord received, and that these unfortunate people were making this august Face sweat by striving to annihilate its works.”

“Our Lord showed me, with the help of a simple and just comparison, that the impious by their blasphemies attacked His adorable Face, and that the faithful glorified it by the homage of praise rendered to His Name and to His person.”

“Merit is in persons, but the glory that accompanies them is in their name; it bursts forth when it is pronounced; the merit or demerit of a person passes into his name. The most holy Name of God expresses the divinity, and contains in it all the perfections of the Creator; it follows from this that the blasphemers of this sacred Name attack God himself. Now let us remember these words of Jesus: “the Father is in me and I in the Father.” (Jn. 10:38). Jesus made Himself passible by the Incarnation; and He suffered, in His adorable Face, the outrages done by the blasphemers to the Name of God, His Father.”

“Our Lord has shown me that there is something mysterious about the face of a despised man of honor; yes, I see that his name and his face have a special connection. Behold a man distinguished by his name and merits, in the presence of his enemies; they do not lay hands on him, but they overwhelm him with insults, they add bitter derision to his name, instead of the titles which are due to him. Notice then what happens to the face of this insulted man; would you not say that all the outrageous words that come out of the mouths of his enemies come to rest on his face and cause him to suffer a real torment? We see this face covered with redness, shame, and confusion; the opprobrium and ignominy it suffers are more cruel to bear than real torments in the other parts of its body. Well, here is a weak portrait of the Face of Our Lord outraged by the blasphemies of the impious! Let us represent this same man in the presence of his friends, who, having learned of the insults he has received, hasten to console him, to treat him according to his dignity, pay homage to the greatness of his name by calling him by all his titles of honor; do you not then see the face of this man feel the sweetness of these praises Glory rests on his forehead and, shining on his face, makes it all shiny: joy shines in his eyes, a smile is on his lips; in a word, his faithful friends have healed the bitter pain of this face outraged by his enemies, glory has passed the reproach. This is what the friends of Jesus do through the work of reparation; the glory they give to His Name rests on this august forehead, and rejoices His most holy Face, in a very special way, in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.”

Healing the Blasphemers

• 3 November 1845:

According to the care you will take to repair My portrait, which was disfigured by blasphemers, I will take care to repair yours, which was disfigured by sin. I will reprint My image on it, and I will make it as beautiful as it was when it came out of the font of baptism. Abandon yourself therefore into My hands and be willing to suffer all the operations necessary for the restoration of this image. Do not be troubled if you experience sadness and darkness, for you know that in an image, the dark colors serve to bring out those that are more vivid. Men have the art of restoring bodies; but only I can be called the restorer of souls, and who restores them to the image of God. I have made known to you this work of reparation, I have shown you its excellence, and now I promise you the reward.”

Oh! If you could see the beauty of my Face! Your eyes are still too weak!”

• 5 January 1846:

“Our Lord made me aware that Lucifer willingly left to other demons the care of leading other flocks of sinners, such as for example: the impure, the drunkards, the greedy; but the blasphemers form his favorite flock. He made it known to me that this work of reparation embraces not only the reparation of blasphemy proper, but also that of all other blasphemies uttered against religion and the Church; however, it applies especially to blasphemies of the holy name of God.

To Draw Tirelessly From the Gold Mine

“Our Lord […] again gave me the order to pray for France, telling me […] that I should draw on His divine wounds for His sheep; finally, that He was giving Himself to me like a gold mine, to pay to His divine Father the debts which our country owes to His justice, allowing me to take for this the great treasures of His Heart. Then Our Lord made me understand that I must be careful not to act like the lazy servant of the Gospel who did not use his talent: He will ask me for an account one day, and it is very easy for me to take from this gold mine that He himself dug by his works and sufferings. I believe that He very much desires to find someone who will oblige Him, through prayer, to show mercy to France.”

Intercede for France

  • 23 January, 1846:

The face of France has become hideous in the eyes of My Father, provoking His justice; offer Him therefore the Face of His Son, in whom He is pleased, in order to draw mercy on this France; otherwise, it will be punished.’

  • November 22:

This is what the divine Master told me: ‘My daughter, I take you today as My bursar, and I place My holy Face in your hands again, so that you may offer it unceasingly to My Father for the salvation of France. Make use of this divine talent; you have in it enough to do all the business of My house; you will obtain, through this holy Face, the salvation of many sinners; with this offering, nothing will be refused you. If you only knew how pleasing the sight of my Face is to My Father!’

Changing the Wine of Justice Into the Wine of Mercy

[…] I saw other punishments prepared to satisfy this justice. When I saw this, I said to Our Lord, “Sweet Jesus, if only I could drink the rest of this cup, so that my brothers might be spared!”

“He answered me that He accepted my good will, but that I was not capable of emptying this cup, and that only He could drink it. The Savior, seeing my pain, beckoned me to enter His divine Heart; in His excessive mercy, He gave it to me as a vessel worthy of being presented to the eternal Father to receive this wine of His wrath, making me understand that, passing through this channel, it would be changed for us into the wine of mercy. But He does not want to entirely infringe the rights of justice; if I may express myself in this way, He wants to make a covenant between His justice and His mercy, and for this purpose He asks for the establishment of the work of Reparation to the glory of His Name. Yes, He will disarm the anger of God, His Father, if He offers Him a work of reparation for us! Is it not the least we can do, O sweet Jesus, to make reparation by our prayers, by our groans and by our adoration, for the enormous sins of which we are guilty towards the majesty of God? This, Mother, is the prayer that Our Lord put into my mouth, and which I want to repeat unceasingly: ‘Eternal Father, look upon the divine Heart of Jesus which I offer to you to receive the wine of your justice, so that it may be changed for us into the wine of mercy’. He made me understand that, each time I made this offering, I would obtain a drop of this wine of divine anger, which, falling, as I said above, into the vessel of the sacred Heart of Jesus, would change into the liquor of mercy.

Waging War on the Communists

In 1847, the League of Communists was founded in London. Two of its members, Marx and Engels, received the mission to write the doctrinal manifesto that appeared in February 1848 under the title Manifesto of the Communist Party. On March 14, 1847, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre wrote to her superior:

“Our Lord today, after Holy Communion, made me understand that the plagues we have been struck with were only the forerunners of those which His justice is preparing for us if His anger is not appeased, and He showed me the sins of blasphemy and the profanations of Sunday under the emblem of two pumps, with which the men who are guilty of these crimes draw the waters of His wrath over France and expose themselves to being submerged by them, if this work of reparation which He gives her in his mercy as a means of salvation is not established. Then He told me that the sectarians called Communists had only made one excursion: ‘Oh’! He added, –‘if you knew their secret and diabolical machinations, and their anti-Christian principles! They are only waiting for a favorable day to set fire to France. Ask, therefore, for the work of Reparation to whom it belongs, in order to obtain mercy.’”

• 29 March 1847:

Our Lord has entrusted me with a new mission which I would be afraid of if I were anything; but as I am nothing but a weak instrument in His powerful hand, I am perfectly at peace.

He commanded me to make war on the communists, whom He told me were the enemies of the Church and of His Christ, making me understand that these lion cubs were, for the most part, born in the Church whose cruel enemies they now declared themselves to be. Then He added: –‘I have made it known to you that I hold you in My hands like an arrow. Now I want to shoot this arrow at My enemies. I give you the weapons of My Passion to fight them: My cross, whose enemies they are, and the other instruments of My torture. Go to them with the simplicity of a child and the courage of a valiant soldier. Receive, for this mission, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’. Then I prayed to the Blessed Virgin to be the custodian of these divine weapons, given to me by her dearest Son, who is compared to the Tower of David, from which hang a thousand shields. Our Lord gave me, on this subject, several other lights which it would not be easy for me to relate. “Lord,” I said, “train my hands for battle, and teach me to use your instruments.”

He said to me: ‘The weapons of My enemies give death, but Mine give life.’

How to Fight the Enemies of God

This is the prayer I often recite for this purpose: –Eternal Father, I offer you, against the camp of your enemies, the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the instruments of His holy Passion, that You may put division between them; for, as Your beloved Son has said, every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed [Mt. 12:25].

[…] Jesus gives me grace to draw my weapons; today, after Holy Communion, He encouraged me to fight, and He promised to give me a cross of honor, which, He told me, would open heaven for me, if I were faithful […]. But, Reverend Mother, after having fought the enemies of God with all my strength during these three days of feasting, I now feel almost contrition. I explain myself: it is because I fear having made imprecations against them.

I know that the holy King David does the same in his psalms (108, for example); but I do not know if I am allowed to do so. Finally, I have said everything that Our Lord, it seems to me, inspired me to say; if it is wrong, and I am mistaken, I will not do it again.

I will tell you that I begin by placing my soul in the hands of Our Lord; then I beg him to bend His bow and shoot His arrows at His enemies; then I fight them first by His cross and by the instruments of His Passion, as He taught me; then by the virtue of the most holy Name of God. And this is my concern for the imprecations, for if it is wrong, I have repeated these words a hundred times; but I had no intention of wishing harm to these criminal people; I am only angry at their malice and their passions; I only want to kill the old man in them. So this is what I say:

Let God arise, let His enemies be dispelled, and let all those who hate Him flee from His face.

May the name of the thrice holy God overturn all their plans.

May the sacred name of the living God divide all their feelings.

May the terrible name of the God of eternity destroy their impiety.

I say some more, and when I have thus beaten them well, I add:

I do not want the sinner to die, but to be converted and live. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Lk. 23:34]

I do these exercises without restraint of spirit and with great ease, because I let myself be led by the grace that guides me.

Ten Punishments for the Violation of the Ten Commandments

Ten Punishments for the Violation of the Ten Commandments

Editorial of Salt of the Earth 118, Fall 2021

MORE THAN 3,000 YEARS AGO, God struck Egypt with ten terrible plagues called the Ten Plagues of Egypt.

God wanted to force Pharaoh to let the Jewish people out of Egypt, as Moses had asked. But Pharaoh was hard-hearted and it was only at the tenth plague, the most terrible, that he let the Hebrews go.

St. Augustine showed in a sermon how the ten plagues of Egypt can represent the punishments God inflicts on men when they break the ten commandments. Now more than ever the world is transgressing the Ten Commandments. This explains the painful events we are undergoing and perhaps the more serious ones that still await us.

The transgression of each commandment is punished by the corresponding wound, not in the historical sense, but in its symbolic sense.

1. You shall have no other God but Me.

First plague of Egypt: water turned to blood. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses, so Aaron, his brother, struck the waters of the river with his staff, and all the waters of the land were turned to blood. The fish died and the Egyptians could no longer drink.

Water means life, blood symbolizes death. The world that does not want to worship God, the author of life, is punished by death.

More than ever, the world rejects God, and especially rejects Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God. So it is punished with death. Death is found even before birth with abortion, it is found at the end with euthanasia, death is even now omnipresent: continuously the radio, the television, the media speak about death and dying.

2. You shall not take the name of God in vain.

Second plague: the plague of frogs that covered the land of Egypt. When they died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields, they were piled up in heaps, and the land was infected with them.

Men who no longer wish to pronounce the name of God with respect, and who blaspheme him, are given over by God to vain chatter, represented by the croaking of frogs. The heaps of dead and fetid frogs represent the bitterness that these conversations leave in the souls.

Today, we proclaim the right to blasphemy, while banishing the sacred name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, excluded in the name of “secularism”, as if God had not come to teach and save us.

The punishment is the hollow chatter of the media, of television, of the internet, of all these means of social communication, which croak like frogs, which never speak of the essential, and leave behind them emptiness and sadness in the soul.

3. Remember to keep the feasts holy.

Third plague: the invasion of flies.

Men who do not want to respect the Sunday rest live in unrest, the opposite of rest which the Latin quies signifies. Permanent agitation, continuous torment symbolized by the flies.

Go to a big city, look in the street: everyone is running, there is no more peace and quiet.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

Fourth plague: the sending of a gnat called the dog flea, which tormented the Egyptians by its bites.

Little dogs are born blind, they do not recognize their parents. This plague means that men who do not honor their parents, will themselves have to suffer from their children who will treat them cruelly.

The modern world crams old people into real warehouses, where they die of boredom when they are not victims of euthanasia.

No doubt good Christians do what they can to take care of their elderly parents, and some even make great sacrifices, but the fact remains that our society is hard on the elderly, it makes them suffer, and this is a punishment for the transgression of the fourth commandment.

5. Thou shalt not kill.

Fifth plague: the cattle plague which kills the Egyptians’ herds.

Murderers are often punished by dying like animals.

Our world is murderous: it not only kills children and old people, but it promotes terrorism, drugs, suicide, it multiplies useless and ever more deadly wars. As a punishment, men die like beasts. How many immortal souls have arrived in recent months at the threshold of death without any preparation? The priest is no longer called, and they even want to prevent him from approaching the dying.

6. You shall not commit impure acts.

Sixth plague: ulcers and tumors bulging into blisters.

Impurity is often punished with shameful diseases.

The modern world is afflicted by all kinds of diseases, including AIDS, which is one of the most deadly.

7. Thou shalt not steal.

Seventh plague: the hail that destroyed the crops of the Egyptians.

Those who steal often end up in misery. Spiritual misery, deprived of the only true wealth which is God, but also often material misery.

Our modern societies live by an organized theft called usury. We did not want to listen to the Church, we let the usurers take control of the financial world. The punishment for this will be the general ruin that will inevitably come. Communism in Russia and China led to general misery and terrible famines. The Neo-Communism that is being set up all over the world is also likely to result in misery and famine.

8. You shall not give false testimony.

Eighth plague: the locusts with their terrible teeth.

Those who live a lie end up devouring each other.

The modern world is one of institutionalized lying:

  • lie of secularism, which excludes God in the name of a false neutrality;

  • lie of Darwinism, which praises a world that would be self-constructing;

  • lie of Machiavellian democratization which openly replaces authority by the manipulation of the supposedly sovereign people.

The result: the modern world is a jungle where man is a wolf to man.

9. You shall not desire another’s wife.

Ninth plague: the darkness preventing one from seeing even in daylight.

Figure of the darkness of the heart ravaged by bad desires.

Alas, so many young people, so many adults even, are watching bad things on the screens. Here they are in thick darkness, which is only the prelude to the outer darkness where they will be thrown if they do not come to their senses.

10. You shall not desire the good of others


Tenth plague: the death of the firstborn.

The firstborn represents the soul, which should be dearer to us than anything else.

The sin of envy is punished by the death of the soul.

Through commercial advertising and revolutionary ideology, the modern world advocates envy as the engine of economic and social progress.

The result is the death of the soul, through sin and progressive dehumanization. We even come to advocate transhumanism.

After having listed the ten plagues, punishments for the violation of the ten commandments, it is necessary to recall that the punishments of this world often have, in the designs of God, a medicinal value.

They are intended to correct, not to crush.

To show that they cannot really harm faithful men, these plagues were cruel only to the Egyptians, and did not reach the Hebrews.

The situation is not exactly the same today, since good Christians can suffer the consequences of crimes they did not commit. But in reality, nothing can harm them, because “all things work together for good to souls who love God” (St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28).

In the New Covenant, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Innocent One par excellence, came to suffer for the guilty.

The sufferings of Christians serve not only to atone for their own sins, but to save many sinners.

If we have to suffer the punishments that God in his goodness sends to our guilty world, let us see it as an opportunity to sanctify ourselves.

Let us ask for the grace to accept them.

If we ourselves have transgressed the Ten Commandments, let us accept these sufferings as an expiation for our sins. And if we suffer for the sins of others, let us thank God for associating us with his Cross.

Translation by A.A.

The Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes

The Motu Proprio

  Traditionis Custodes

From Pope Francis

July 16, 2021

Dogs, Wolves and Sheep Skin

Editorial from Le Sel de la terre 117

(Summer 2021)

Domini canes: was the pun likening the sons of St. Dominic (Domini-cani) to the dogs of the Lord (Domini canes) approved – even prompted – by Heaven itself?

The way in which the founder of the Preachers was announced to his mother in a dream, under the figure of a little dog, might suggest this.

In any case, this underlines the originality of a religious order that owed its birth to a heresy, that of the Albigensians, and was specifically founded to respond to it.

Like a shepherd’s dog, Dominic preached: Bringing back to the path the lost sheep. And knowing how to bark when the wolf roamed.” (hymn to St. Dominic).

* Domini canes or Traditionis Custodes?

But if the eighth centenary of his entry into Heaven (August 6, 1221) provided a beautiful opportunity to evoke St. Dominic, a burning current event has caught up with this anniversary. This summer, in the Church, much more than Domini canes, there was talk of Traditionis Custodes: the sarcastic title of a Motu Proprio signed by Pope Francis on July 16, when the Latin text was still unknown – it still is – and was probably not even written. A minor detail, compared to the substance of the matter, but indicative of the ever-increasing cynicism of conciliar Rome.

There was a time when it tried to keep up appearances. Now it is displaying its Machiavellianism more and more openly.

When Francis sticks this fine Latin title on a text that despises Latin as much as it despises Tradition, when he invokes collegiality to impose his personal ideas, when he trumpets that he wants to restore the liturgical authority of the bishops, but in fact grants them only the right to forbid the traditional liturgy and denies them the right to authorize it more broadly, no one can be deceived. Such obvious lies do not even try to be believed. The situation at least gains clarity.

* The Wolf and the Sheep Skin

Since 2007, like a sheep’s skin, the distinction posed by Benedict XVI between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the one Roman rite 1 masked the reality. Francis is tearing apart this pretense. An indissoluble link unites Vatican II, the new Mass of Paul VI, and the new morality of Francis (which only logically applies the principles of the Council). It is the new religion. The conciliar wolf is naked.

Archbishop Lefebvre had perceived its voice as early as 1965:

This pastoral Constitution is neither pastoral nor emanates from the Catholic Church […] never has the Church spoken like this. […]. We know the voice of Christ, our Shepherd. This one we do not know. The garment is that of the sheep; the voice is not that of the Shepherd, but perhaps that of the wolf 2.

* The Ecclesia Dei Institutes facing reality

When the shepherd turns into a wolf, resistance is a duty:

When the shepherd turns into a wolf, it is up to the whole flock to defend itself. According to the rule, no doubt, doctrine descends from the bishops to the faithful; and the subjects must not judge their leaders in matters of faith. But in the treasure of Revelation there are essential points, of which every Christian, by the very fact of being a Christian, has the necessary knowledge and obligatory custody 3.”

For fifty years, Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, Father Calmel O.P. and many others, have set an example of this resistance, clearly denouncing the errors of Vatican II (without, however, allowing themselves to judge and then recuse the leaders of the Church, as the sedevacantists want to do).

For thirty years, the Ecclesia Dei Institutes have tried to find a middle way, keeping the traditional liturgy without rejecting Vatican II. But the pope himself is dispelling their illusions, peeling off the sheep’s skin. Francis himself is destroying the famous hermeneutic of continuity, laboriously built up by Benedict XVI.

The Ecclesia Dei Institutes are up against the wall. Will they make the choice of consistency? Will they recuse Vatican II, like Archbishop Vigano or Bishop Schneider?

We need to pray for the future.

We must pray for this intention.

1 ‑ Benedict XVI, Motu proprio Summorum pontificum (July 7, 2007).

2 ‑ Excerpt from a text delivered by Archbishop Lefebvre to the Council Secretariat on September 9, 1965, concerning the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes.

3 ‑ Dom Guéranger, Liturgical Year, Time of the Septuagesima, Feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

Small Catechism on the Spiritual Life

Small Catechism on the Spiritual Life

  by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.

  (text in French published by Le Sel de la terre)

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D (1890-1953) was a consultant for the Congregation of Rites and professor of Spiritual Theology at the at the Discalced Carmelites School of Theology in Rome

He is also the author of the book Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Year that appeared in editions of “The Carmel” in 1955.


This small catechism, first published in the magazine Vitae Carmelitana, was welcomed with joy by pious people who found in it peace and comfort. It could not be otherwise because it contains the substance of teachings with which for four centuries the Order of the reformed Carmel directs souls in the spiritual life.

The author, a specialist in this domain, has wanted to bring the faithful to the schools of St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. He exposes in clear pages their method of mental prayer with developments received by their spiritual sons, being careful to keep themselves in line with Tradition. The readers of the Vitae Carmelitana, had many times expressed the desire to see gathered in one volume the lessons from which they drew the greatest advantages. So, in 1943 Fr. Gabriel prepared this catechism. He believed it good to change the original text a little, to render it more adapted to the conditions of those living in the world without changing the essential.

May the Seraphic Mother St. Theresa, the great mistress of the spiritual life, obtain the abundance of benedictions from on high for all those who will use this work where one of her children proposed to nourish the hearts of bread of the celestial doctrine. (Collect of the Saint)

Fr. Eugene of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus

Chapter 1: Mental Prayer in the Contemplative Life

1. What is the Catholic Life?

The Catholic life is the life lived in conformity with the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to which we must direct all our actions to the glory of God in loving Him and in observing His holy laws. The Catholic soul lives for God.

2. What is the Contemplative Life?

The Contemplative Life is a form of Catholic life in which one tries to live not only for God but also with God. It is not only for Religious but can be lived perfectly in the world. It is concentrated completely in the research of the Divine Intimacy, and in this goal during the day practices that which we call Spiritual Exercises. These are special exercises of prayer which must be accompanied by exercises of mortification because, as St. Theresa the great mistress of the contemplative life said, mental prayer and comforts do not go together.

3. What is the place of mental prayer in the Contemplative Life?

In the Contemplative Life, mental prayer takes the first place. Practically, the Contemplative Life is a life of mental prayer. For this reason the Contemplative Orders dedicate much time to prayer. In the Carmelite order, which is eminently contemplative, the central precept is one of continual mental prayer: that each one stays firm in his cell meditating day and night on the law of God and watching in prayer. The Carmelites perform many exercises of piety. They do mental prayer twice a day [one hour each time], assist at Mass, recite the Divine Office, put themselves in the presence of God during the day; without speaking of personal exercises of devotion.

4. What is prayer?

Prayer is a conversation with God in which we manifest to Him the desires of our heart. Prayer can be either vocal or mental.

5. What is vocal prayer?

Vocal prayer consists in the recitation of a formula which expresses our desires. For example, the Our Father, taught to man by Our Lord Himself, and in which we ask God seven things. We recite this formula with the intention to honor God. Often we do not think of, in a distinct way, the sense of the words that we pronounce. But that does not stop our prayer from being a true prayer provided that our soul remains turned to God with the desire to honor Him. This prayer can be recited to the Saints with the same desire to honor them.

6. What is mental prayer?

This consists in speaking to God with the heart, not with prepared formulas of learned by heart, but in a spontaneous manner.

7. What do we say to God in mental prayer?

In this form of prayer, we are able to show God all desires that we have in our heart. But following the teachings of St. Theresa, a contemplative soul will prefer to say that we love Him or want to love Him.

8. Why is the love of God often spoken about?

Because this love is the substance of the contemplative life. The contemplative souls must become intimate friends of God and love precisely makes flower the friendship and introduces intimacy. St. Theresa wants us, in going to prayer, that we be convinced that God invites us to love Him in doing it and that we do it to answer His call.

9. Is it necessary to think in prayer?

It is not possible to love without having some thought on the loved object. To move God, one must think about Him. This thought can vary much according to who it is. It could consist of a prolonged reflection on the love of God for us, or could be a simple souvenir of God: His Goodness and love of us. In Consequence, in prayer we think only to love and nourish love. St. Theresa said in effect that prayer consists not in thinking much but in loving much.

10. What is love?

There is sensible love, and there is love of the will. Sensible love consists in a sentiment which carries us with affection towards a person; makes us feel pleasure in his presence or a souvenir of it. Love of the will consists in wanting the good for a person by free choice and determination of the will. Then when this love takes all our soul, one wants to be with the person loved, and consecrate to him one’s proper life.

11. Which of the two is better?

The love of the will is better because the will is, in us, that which is most personal. In the will resides our liberty, and it is precisely with it that we give ourselves to God. For this reason, God asks from man the gift of his will. The full consecration of man to God consists in this gift.

The sensible love is something complementary, of secondary importance. It does not depend on us to feel it while it depends on us to love with the will.

12. Why do we naturally desire the sensible love?

We desire it for its sweetness, and because it gives us comfort and consolation. But because of that, in the sensible love we often seek ourselves, while with the love of the will we seek God. God often suppress in us the sensible love, so that we will love more firmly with only the will.

13. With which love must we love God in prayer?

Certainly the love of the will is the most important. If the sensible love is there too, instead of seeking our own pleasure, we profit by its help to strengthen our will in its act to give itself to God. The sensible love lacking, we will follow the path with the will alone.

14. How can I occupy myself during an hour in this conversation of love with God?

In the beginning of the life of prayer many souls encounter great difficulties. They are bored and feel dissipated. One must remember that to pray is something that needs to be learnt. To teach it, the Carmel Theologians given to the study of prayer life have constructed a method of mental prayer.

Chapter II: The Method of Mental Prayer

1. What is meant by the method of mental prayer?

The method of mental prayer is the teaching which explains to us the way to pray with ease. We will indicate here the diverse acts to do one after another, in order to better do this holy exercise.

2. Is there a method of mental prayer in the Carmelite Order?

Yes, in the Carmelite Order we find a method of prayer from the beginning of the reform of St. Theresa. It was exposed in our two oldest “Instructions of novices” in Spanish (1591) and Italian (1605).

3. What is the origin of this method?

This method has its origin in the teachings of St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross. The definitive and concrete form was elaborated on by their disciples. We will give firstly a general explanation of this method, and then explain the various parts after.

4. Into how many parts is this method of mental prayer divided?

Normally we distinguish 6 or 7 parts or acts in this exercise of mental prayer: preparation, reading, meditation, (with the affectionate colloquia) thanksgiving, offering, and petition.

5. Do so many distinctions lead to a complication?

This distinction of parts does not complicate the practice of mental prayer. In effect, the two first are not mental prayer, but they make the beginning. The three last parts are purely complimentary and optional; we will omit them when we will no longer need them. It is reduced to the essential, the meditation accompanied with an intimate conversation with God (affectionate colloquia)

6. What must one consider to do the mental prayer well?

To understand the Carmelite method of prayer well, the conception of mental prayer exposed by St. Theresa must be present. In the eyes of the seraphic Virgin, mental prayer is an intimate conversation with God, in which we speak to Him especially of love, in answering His call to Love. The different parts of prayer have the aim of leading us easily to this loving conversation with Him.

7. How does the preparation serve this aim?

The preparation helps to put us in the Presence of God. It is not possible to speak intimately with someone if one is not close to Him. We must put ourselves in the Presence of God with a living Faith and in the humble attitude of a soul which recognizes itself as a soul of God.

8. What does reading do?

Reading supplies us with a subject for the loving conversation with God; conversation which can nourish itself in the consideration of the mysteries of Faith, and the gifts and graces received from God for us. In that, the love of God is manifested for us. But since it is not possible to speak of each of these things together, we can choose by the book the subject of which we want to occupy ourselves for the moment, and make it easier for our consideration in following the explanations and reflections of the book.

9. Why meditate?

The meditation or personal reflection that we do on the divine gifts or on the mystery that we have chosen in the lecture serves a double aim, one intellectual, and the other affective. The intellectual aim is to better understand the Love of God for us, love which accomplishes itself in the mystery of the divine gifts that we consider and so convince us more of the call to love made by God to our soul. The affective aim consists to move the will to the exercise of love and to its manifestation in responding to the Divine Invitation. The meditation so appears as an immediate preparation to the affective conversation with God.

10. In what way does one go from the meditation to the affectionate colloquia?

This passage must not be done at a precise moment mathematically determined, but in a spontaneous manner. In making personal reflections in the presence of God, and in seeing more closely by them how God loves us, the soul feels itself easily pushed to say the words of love. It happens often that the reflections that the soul made in itself continues them for some time in addressing words to God, and it serves to understand better His Love for us. Finally, the soul leaves all consideration to abandon itself fully to the exercise of love and its manifestation. In other terms, it passes to an affectionate colloquia. In this colloquia the soul says and repeats in a thousand ways to God that it loves Him, and that it wants to love Him, that it desires to prove Him its love.

11. Is there importance in the colloquia?

The colloquia has a very great importance, and it is the essential part of mental prayer. In it is realized directly the concept that St. Theresa had of mental prayer which consists in an intimate conversation with God to respond to His love for us. Also, the soul will be better able to occupy itself during so much time in prayer and even during an hour.

12. What is the aim of the three last parts of the mental prayer?

The three last parts or acts of mental prayer are: thanksgiving, offering and petition which aim at prolonging more easily our loving conversation with God. They are nothing else than affectionate acts more determined, of various manners, to manifest our love.

13. What is our attitude in these parts?

In the Thanksgiving we manifest to God our humble gratitude for His extreme love for us and for the lessons received from him.

In the offering, drawn by loving recognition, we want to give something to God.

In the petition, humbly convinced of our lowliness and weakness and desire to truly love God, we implore His help to succeed and be faithful to the resolutions formed in the offering.

These acts are, in the strict sense, a prolongation of the affectionate colloquia issued spontaneously from the meditation.

14. Must a determined order be used in the order of the parts of mental prayer?

The order indicated above is the most logical, but great liberty is allowed. We are free to change around these parts as we please. We can even repeat the same parts many times. It goes also for the meditation and the affectionate colloquia that we are able to alternate as we please in the same mental prayer.

15. Are the last parts necessary?

No. These acts are optional. One who can sufficiently occupy himself in the loving colloquia without recourse to these acts can skip them. But in the beginning of the life of prayer the attention of the soul is often helped by a variety of these actions. In this case the soul should have recourse to them.

(To be continued)

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima

  The Offering of the Sacrifices of Our Daily Duties to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Conversion of Sinners

Jesus wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. For those who accept it, I promise salvation, and these souls will be the beloved of God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”

(Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 2017)

The Blessed Virgin told me that God has given the last two remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Because these are the last two, there will be no others.

(Sister Lucy’s interview with Father Fuentes, in 1957)

What should we do?

There is of course the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday of every month for at least five consecutive months.

But the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary doesn’t consist only in some prayers once a month. It must be a devotion of all life.

Let us read Sister Lucy:

The most important thing is to perform our daily work, and to offer up the necessary sacrifices for the accomplishment of our work, for the poor sinners.

The secondary requests are the Rosary and the scapular, and perhaps especially what each of these two devotion requests respectively: attentive meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

(Sister Lucy, in the book of John Haffert, The brother and I, chapter 27)

“The sins (of the world) are numerous, but [the most painful] is the neglect of the souls for which Our Lord had such a ardent hope for his service. Only a very limited number of souls [serve Him as he wants]. The worst thing is that I [sister Lucy] am among the lukewarm, even after all the efforts He made to draw me into the circle of the fervent. I make easily promises, but I fall short more easily. Dust accumulates around our actions like it does on our clothing, and we don’t know how it came.”

(Letter to Father Gonçalvès, April 24, 1940.)

“Our Lord bitterly and painfully laments the very limited number of souls in the state of grace, who are ready to renounce themselves according to what His Law requires. This is the penance that the Good Lord requires today: The sacrifice that each one must make on himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observation of His law.

He wants that we make this clearly known to the souls, for many think that the word “penance” means great mortifications. Since they feel neither the inner power, nor the generosity for that, they become discouraged and adopt a lukewarm and sinful life.

One Thursday, while I was in the chapel at midnight with the permission of my superiors, Our Lord told me:

The sacrifice of everybody to fulfil his own duty, and to observe my law: this is the penance that I want and that I require right now.

(Letter to the Bishop of Gurza, February 28, 1943.)

“It is so good to live totally dependent on the Will of God! It is this dependence that guides our each and every step. This is why peace and joy overflow our souls, even when we are making sacrifices, since our only inspiration is to please God by sacrificing ourselves for Him and for the souls that He wants to save. This sacrifice consists in the perfect accomplishment of our work each day and at every moment. You know, don’t you know, that he understands what it is we owe God, our neighbor, and ourselves. The true spirit of penance consists of the following: knowing how to sacrifice oneself so as not to sin; knowing how to sacrifice oneself rather than being imperfect; knowing how to sacrifice oneself in order to go further and further to the point of love’s generosity. This must be the ideal of each soul who aspires to arrive at the day on which he beholds God and exalts in His presence in Heaven.”

(Letter to a friend, November 17, 1954.)

This is what Our Lady wants : the penance of the duty of state, fulfilled as perfectly as possible. There are some souls who think about great and extraordinary mortifications, going so far as to macerate themselves. They know they are not able of doing this, and so they lose courage. When Our Lady requires penance, she speaks about the perfect fulfilment of our duty of state: this is holiness!

(L’appel du Cœur Douloureux et Immaculé de Marie, n°78.)

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima :

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima :

The Offering of the Sacrifices of Our Daily Duties to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Conversion of Sinners

Jesus wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. For those who accept it, I promise salvation, and these souls will be the beloved of God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”

(Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 2017)

The Blessed Virgin told me that God has given the last two remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Because these are the last two, there will be no others.

(Sister Lucy’s interview with Father Fuentes, in 1957)

What should we do?

There is of course the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday of every month for at least five consecutive months.

But the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary doesn’t consist only in some prayers once a month. It must be a devotion of all life.

Let us read Sister Lucy:

The most important thing is to perform our daily work, and to offer up the necessary sacrifices for the accomplishment of our work, for the poor sinners.

The secondary requests are the Rosary and the scapular, and perhaps especially what each of these two devotion requests respectively: attentive meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

(Sister Lucy, in the book of John Haffert, The brother and I, chapter 27)

“The sins (of the world) are numerous, but [the most painful] is the neglect of the souls for which Our Lord had such a ardent hope for his service. Only a very limited number of souls [serve Him as he wants]. The worst thing is that I [sister Lucy] am among the lukewarm, even after all the efforts He made to draw me into the circle of the fervent. I make easily promises, but I fall short more easily. Dust accumulates around our actions like it does on our clothing, and we don’t know how it came.”

(Letter to Father Gonçalvès, April 24, 1940.)

“Our Lord bitterly and painfully laments the very limited number of souls in the state of grace, who are ready to renounce themselves according to what His Law requires. This is the penance that the Good Lord requires today: The sacrifice that each one must make on himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observation of His law.

He wants that we make this clearly known to the souls, for many think that the word “penance” means great mortifications. Since they feel neither the inner power, nor the generosity for that, they become discouraged and adopt a lukewarm and sinful life.

One Thursday, while I was in the chapel at midnight with the permission of my superiors, Our Lord told me:

The sacrifice of everybody to fulfil his own duty, and to observe my law: this is the penance that I want and that I require right now.

(Letter to the Bishop of Gurza, February 28, 1943.)

“It is so good to live totally dependent on the Will of God! It is this dependence that guides our each and every step. This is why peace and joy overflow our souls, even when we are making sacrifices, since our only inspiration is to please God by sacrificing ourselves for Him and for the souls that He wants to save. This sacrifice consists in the perfect accomplishment of our work each day and at every moment. You know, don’t you know, that he understands what it is we owe God, our neighbor, and ourselves. The true spirit of penance consists of the following: knowing how to sacrifice oneself so as not to sin; knowing how to sacrifice oneself rather than being imperfect; knowing how to sacrifice oneself in order to go further and further to the point of love’s generosity. This must be the ideal of each soul who aspires to arrive at the day on which he beholds God and exalts in His presence in Heaven.”

(Letter to a friend, November 17, 1954.)

This is what Our Lady wants : the penance of the duty of state, fulfilled as perfectly as possible. There are some souls who think about great and extraordinary mortifications, going so far as to macerate themselves. They know they are not able of doing this, and so they lose courage. When Our Lady requires penance, she speaks about the perfect fulfilment of our duty of state: this is holiness!

(L’appel du Cœur Douloureux et Immaculé de Marie, n°78.)

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima:

In the Heart of the Message of Fatima:

The Offering of the Sacrifices of Our Daily Duties to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Conversion of Sinners

Jesus wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. For those who accept it, I promise salvation, and these souls will be the beloved of God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”

(Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 2017)

The Blessed Virgin told me that God has given the last two remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Because these are the last two, there will be no others.

(Sister Lucy’s interview with Father Fuentes, in 1957)

What should we do?

There is of course the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday of every month for at least five consecutive months.

But the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary doesn’t consist only in some prayers once a month. It must be a devotion of all life.

Let us read Sister Lucy:

The most important thing is to perform our daily work, and to offer up the necessary sacrifices for the accomplishment of our work, for the poor sinners.

The secondary requests are the Rosary and the scapular, and perhaps especially what each of these two devotion requests respectively: attentive meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

(Sister Lucy, in the book of John Haffert, The brother and I, chapter 27)

“The sins (of the world) are numerous, but [the most painful] is the neglect of the souls for which Our Lord had such a ardent hope for his service. Only a very limited number of souls [serve Him as he wants]. The worst thing is that I [sister Lucy] am among the lukewarm, even after all the efforts He made to draw me into the circle of the fervent. I make easily promises, but I fall short more easily. Dust accumulates around our actions like it does on our clothing, and we don’t know how it came.”

(Letter to Father Gonçalvès, April 24, 1940.)

“Our Lord bitterly and painfully laments the very limited number of souls in the state of grace, who are ready to renounce themselves according to what His Law requires. This is the penance that the Good Lord requires today: The sacrifice that each one must make on himself in order to lead a life of justice in the observation of His law.

He wants that we make this clearly known to the souls, for many think that the word “penance” means great mortifications. Since they feel neither the inner power, nor the generosity for that, they become discouraged and adopt a lukewarm and sinful life.

One Thursday, while I was in the chapel at midnight with the permission of my superiors, Our Lord told me:

The sacrifice of everybody to fulfil his own duty, and to observe my law: this is the penance that I want and that I require right now.

(Letter to the Bishop of Gurza, February 28, 1943.)

“It is so good to live totally dependent on the Will of God! It is this dependence that guides our each and every step. This is why peace and joy overflow our souls, even when we are making sacrifices, since our only inspiration is to please God by sacrificing ourselves for Him and for the souls that He wants to save. This sacrifice consists in the perfect accomplishment of our work each day and at every moment. You know, don’t you know, that he understands what it is we owe God, our neighbor, and ourselves. The true spirit of penance consists of the following: knowing how to sacrifice oneself so as not to sin; knowing how to sacrifice oneself rather than being imperfect; knowing how to sacrifice oneself in order to go further and further to the point of love’s generosity. This must be the ideal of each soul who aspires to arrive at the day on which he beholds God and exalts in His presence in Heaven.”

(Letter to a friend, November 17, 1954.)

This is what Our Lady wants : the penance of the duty of state, fulfilled as perfectly as possible. There are some souls who think about great and extraordinary mortifications, going so far as to macerate themselves. They know they are not able of doing this, and so they lose courage. When Our Lady requires penance, she speaks about the perfect fulfilment of our duty of state: this is holiness!

(L’appel du Cœur Douloureux et Immaculé de Marie, n°78.)