First and foremost, many thanks to a number of you that sent greetings in one form or another for my completing 70 years of life at the beginning of this week. I can truthfully say that ever since I was ordained priest in 1976 by Archbishop Lefebvre, I have had a great deal of happiness, and it has all come from God. He is the one to be thanked.
Nor was the first half of those years unhappy, on the contrary. With the wisdom of hindsight I can see how God was all the time leading me towards the priesthood, without my having had the least idea of what he was up to, so to speak! He is infinitely good, infinitely more good than we can ever imagine, and “His mercy endureth for ever.” Boys, remember the French saying: “If you want to be happy for three hours, get drunk; for three months (some say three weeks), get married; for the rest of your life, become a priest.” The life of the priest may be tiring, but it is luminous and happy, in the words of the “Poem of the Man-God.”
Many of you also wrote a few words of encouragement or consolation for what you see as the heavy cross of this year-long “internal exile” which was caused by my casting public doubt on a fundamental dogma of the New World Order. Worry not! Firstly, recall that wherever that New Order is in control (and that is almost everywhere), as little room for manoeuvre as possible is left to its enemies, and if we find that to be a painful condition, we must recognize it as being a just punishment coming from the hands of God for our having made him out to be as liberal as we are. His friends have today strictly limited room for manoeuvre.
And secondly, be reassured that this year has not meant for me the suffering that some of you imagine. In the English headquarters of the Society of St Pius X here in Wimbledon, I have been more than well looked after for the past year, I have been positively cosseted by SSPX colleagues. After 32 years of the ascetic life of a seminary professor or rector, it has been a great rest to have no duties and a minimal apostolate. In addition, one advantage of returning to my homeland as a geriatric is that I have had a right to free travel on public transport in London, which gives me the run of my home city, something I never had in my “green and salad days.” Altogether this “exile” so far has rather been what the French call a “sweet violence,” or a delightful pain.
In any case it will last as long as God wills, and no longer. Spring is coming in the northern hemisphere. I see already several kinds of birds flying around in pairs outside my window. Let the Third World War come at the hour appointed by God (and not by his enemies), still Hamlet has it right when he paraphrases the Gospel: “There is a providence in the fall of a sparrow . . . The readiness is all.” In context that is the readiness to die. May God bless each of you that sent greetings, and each of you that meant them.