Sermon given on 2nd February, 2006 in Flavigny
by Mgr. Fellay
As a matter of fact, there is nothing very special happening, nothing really new other than a turmoil indicating the devil is taking a great deal of trouble, and this time even greater trouble than usual. Priests well versed in the discernment of spirits know well that any thought which brings doubt, anxiety or distrust, does not come from God. Quite clearly, the spirit of the devil is inspiring the frenetic agitation which is pervading some circles nowadays and trying to perturb and cause distrust among the faithful, among our priests, making them believe that the Superior General is having secret dealings in order to sign something or obtain, so they say, an apostolic administration before Easter.
There is nothing true in this at all. It is all rubbish! The only true thing is that since the private audience we had with Benedict XVI, we met with Cardinal Castrillon on 15th November last. Once again we told him all our reservations, what we expected from Rome, saying, "Listen, normal Catholic life is no longer possible in the Church nowadays. Since the Council, it has been made impossible… You want an agreement? We are not against that, but you must first make it possible. And as we absolutely want to remain Catholics, a Catholic life must be made possible again. This means first of all to correct abuses and condemn them; it means a whole series of acts, to regain control of the Church. It also means positive acts: i.e. to reintroduce this life according to the Catholic faith, with all its demands. It means to give back to the Mass its liberty, something which will set the Church back on track, which will focus the Church on Our Lord Jesus Christ again."
Then we told him, "We see that Rome now agrees that there is a crisis in the Church. That is no longer denied in Rome, and we can even say that serious people are panic-stricken by the situation of the Church, even if in some of their discourses they say the contrary. We are absolutely sure of this because we have heard it from their own mouth. They are very worried about Sermon given on 2nd February, 2006 in Flavigny this situation, and the Pope first of all. Yet the problem arises from the fact that we disagree on the causes of this crisis. The Roman hierarchy wants to ascribe this crisis to the evil which is shaking the world. The world is guilty if things go wrong in the Church!
So, we told Cardinal Castrillon about (the contents of) the letter of Archbishop Lefebvre addressed to Cardinal Ottaviani, one year after the Council. We showed him this letter, commenting upon it and pointing out how the Archbishop admirably described the consequences of the Council without speaking of abuses or deviations; but how the Council in itself led to the crisis we are experiencing. This text written in 1966 is right up to date. The Archbishop’s foresight is remarkable especially concerning the situation of the Church and the Council. We persisted, saying, "The fault lies with the Council. But this does not mean that all the errors we see in the Church today come from the Council. It means that the Council gathered all these errors and inoculated them into the lifeblood of the Church". I continued saying, "If you want to get out of this crisis, just forget the Society for a while, busy yourself with resolving this crisis. Once the crisis is resolved, the Society will no longer be a problem for you".
After these long discussions, the Cardinal told me, "I see that what you say does not place you outside of the Church, so you are in the Church". And he went on, "I ask you to write to the Pope and ask him to lift the excommunications". Since then that is where we stand, because obviously we are not going to ask them to remove something we do not acknowledge. We have always refused to acknowledge the validity of these excommunications, so we cannot ask them to remove something which does not exist. And even before doing this, we had asked, of course, the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication, its annulment; but even to say "annulment" already means that we acknowledge something. We have asked this from the very beginning; it was one of the conditions we had set. And, for the first time, Rome seems to be heading in the direction we had proposed in the year 2000.
Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that before taking that step, we must try to figure out why, all of a sudden, Rome is asking that. Where does Rome want to go? And what is the objective they are pursuing by this change of tactics? It is rather clear that Rome, the Pope, would like to settle the affairs of the Society, if I may say so, and according to their plan it must be a quick settlement. On our part, we have always insisted that before we can reach a practical settlement, they must eliminate the principles which, on the onehand, generate the crisis, and which, on the other hand would destroy us if we were to accept them. Thus we can in no way accept. And that is where we stand today. We are asking Rome to examine these deadly principles in the Church in order to eliminate them, to reject them. This liberalism, this modernism which entered the Church really kill the Christian life, they show themselves in collegiality, in ecumenism, in religious liberty, in the concept of the laicized state, now endorsed by Benedict XVI and repeated so many times.
The Pope, in his address of 22nd December, tells us that by returning to the laicized state, the Church has returned to the Gospel. Yet the Gospel says the opposite! The Gospel says, "He must reign". Saint Paul wonderfully explains that all authority comes from God. All authority! And if we must submit to civil authorities it is because they are God's lieutenants. These authorities receive power over men from God. They must give an account to God, to Our Lord Jesus Christ of the way they exercised power, whether they be Hitler, Nero, Gorbachev, Chirac, you name it. At the hour of their death they all appear before Our Lord Jesus Christ to render an account of the way they exercised their power because Our Lord is their King. Whether they be pagans or Christians, it is all the same: Our Lord is King of all!
We only have to look a little more closely at the influence of civil society on men's life. It is so obvious that a civil society impregnated with the law of God will help the soul to work out its salvation, and the reverse is just as obvious. This civil society, in which each man daily lives, necessarily influences his life. For us it is simply evidence that civil society must be in harmony with the Church. Thus the principles, the laws which govern and direct human life must be impregnated to the utmost with the law of God, the ten commandments. Though the end of civil society is only temporal, there is no contradiction between the two. There must necessarily be a harmony; that is obvious for us. But we dare say that for the present Pope it seems that the laicized state is an fact, an axiom. It is part and parcel of those principles which need not be proved. Hence an enormous problem, a stumbling block in our relations with the Roman authorities, which can be summed up in one word : the Council. And we perceive it very clearly in the issue of religious liberty.
And so, my very dear brethren, we must carry on. We must continue quite simply and serenely on the path so well traced out by our founder, Archbishop Lefebvre, that is all. We know that the Church has the promises of indefectibility, the gates of hell shall never prevail against her. She willone day overcome this crisis. It is up to us to devote all our energy to work towards overcoming the crisis, and this, obviously, while keeping our own place. So, per force, we will have relations with Rome. It is a mistake to claim that we must not discuss with them. We expect them one day to become Catholics, and we won’t discuss with them? Saint Paul, speaking of the pagans, said, "How will they convert, if they do not hear about the faith, if no one reminds them of the principles?" Must we make things up, or do you want a continual miracle from Our Lord Jesus Christ? This may happen, but God normally uses secondary causes to touch souls. Once again, without wanting to attribute to ourselves a spectacular or extraordinary role, we find ourselves in the historical circumstances in which God has placed us. Here and now we must accomplish our duty of state as priest, bishop… everyone in his own place, and try to obtain as much good as possible from the authorities which are certainly still in darkness.
Let us pray! Let us pray God that this light, which we hail in Our Lord, may shine forth again in the Church. Let us really have the heart of an apostle. God insisted on telling his Apostlesthat they should not place this light under a bushel. It must give forth light; we must have in our heart the desire to convert souls. If God gave us the grace to see clearly, it is a sin to keep it for ourselves. Deep in our heart, we must have the desire to win all souls obviously according as God disposes but we must labour, we must have a heart as big as the heart of Our Lord. He is our model. Everyday at Mass, the priest offers a sacrifice of infinite value, of a power which we can call universal. The graces of the Mass reach the whole world, the whole Church. It would be rather ridiculous to see a priest who, as he is performing this immense act, reduces his heart to a tiny little thing. Of course, he will have particular intentions, but he must keep these immense intentions which he himself mentions at the very beginning of the Canon: he prays for the whole Church. At the offertory, he prays for all the faithful in the whole world. Let us keep this spirit and ask that it increases everyday. Let us then practise it everyday, - obviously with prudence, and always enlightened by Our Lord Jesus Christ, by divine Providence.
us, on this day, entrust these great intentions, intentions of our
young seminarians, and the great intentions of the Church to Our Lady.
she protect us, may she present us everyday more pure to God, as we ask
the collect, so that, being everyday more pleasing to God, we may obtain,
through our cooperation with his grace, to sanctify ourselves and others.