Tag: Fr. Roger-Thomas Calmel

Context Upended

Context Upended posted in Eleison Comments on September 20, 2014

Starting out from arguments against sedevacantism as being a short-sighted error in a wholly abnormal situation, an Italian friend (C.C.) takes a longer view of that situation. Without being a priest or theologian, he ventures the opinion that sedevacantism is merely one of several attempts in the Church to fit the crisis of today into the categories of yesterday. There is no question of Catholic theology changing, but the real situation to which that theology has to be applied underwent a sea-change with Vatican II. Here is a key paragraph of his on that upended reality:—

“By its refusal of the objective reality of God’s existence and of the need to submit to his Law, today’s world is not normal, and the present Catholic unity is not normal either which has put man instead of God at the centre of things. Nor is it by a sudden swerve that the Church has arrived at this abnormal state of things, but following on a long and complex process of moving away from God, the disruptive effects of which showed up at Vatican II. For hundreds of years the germs of dissolution have been fostered within the Church, as have the men harbouring these germs, and they have beeen allowed to occupy all ranks of the hierarchy, up to and including the See of Peter.”

My friend goes on that if one fails to take into consideration this overall abnormality of the present state of the Church, which is unbelievably, yet truly, worse than ever, one runs the risk of dealing with a reality that no longer exists, in terms of reference that no longer apply. Thus for example the sedevacantists will say that today’s churchmen must know what they are doing, because they are intelligent and educated men. Not so, says C.C.: their preaching and practice may well no longer be Catholic, but they are convinced that they are wholly orthodox. The whole world has gone mad. They have merely gone mad with it, not by a loss of reason but by having given up the use of it, and as their Catholic faith grows weaker, so there is less and less to stop them from losing it altogether.

But then, one might object, God must have abandoned his Church. To reply, CC resorts to three quotations from Scripture. Firstly, Lk.XVIII, 8, where Our Lord wonders if he will even find the Faith on earth when he comes back. Obviously a small remainder of priests and laity (with perhaps some bishops) will be enough to ensure the indefectibility of the Church until the end of the world (one thinks of the present difficulties of the “Resistance” in taking shape). Likewise, secondly, Mt.XXIV, 11–14, where it is foreseen that many false prophets will deceive many souls, and charity will grow cold. And thirdly, Lk.XXII, 31–32, where Our Lord instructs Peter to confirm his brethren in the faith after he has converted, strongly suggesting that his faith will first have failed. So almost the whole hierarchy can fail, including Peter, without the Church ceasing to be indefectible, somewhat like when the Apostles all ran away in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt.XXVI, 56).

In conclusion, CC’s vision for the Church of tomorrow or the day after strongly resembles that of Fr Calmel: let each of us do his duty according to his state of life, and take part in building a network of little forts of the Faith, each with a priest to ensure the sacraments, but with no henceforth inapplicable theology of the Church, nor unobtainable canonical approval, nor with any out-dated dividing-walls over the top of which the Faith will have flowed. The forts will be united by the Truth and will have mutual contacts of charity. The rest is in God’s hands.

Kyrie eleison.

Father Rioult – II

Father Rioult – II posted in Eleison Comments on December 14, 2013

Let me quote Fr Olivier Rioult from his October 6 interview in Paris (cf. EC 333) on another question, much disputed within today’s Catholic Resistance – the question of organization. Fr Rioult was asked whether he thought it was possible to set up a new worldwide organization, or would he rather opt for some kind of free association such as has grouped together sedevacantists for a number of years? Here is his answer, this time in his very own words:—

“In the months to come I may be setting up a broad kind of association based on friendship with other Catholics in the Resistance, whether or not they are sedevacantists, sedevacantism being for me an opinion. But the situation is not ripe here and now for such an association. In any case whatever is Catholic is ours. So any Catholics ready to operate as Catholics and to resist the modernism reigning supreme within the Church, we will work with. Therefore yes, to a broad kind of association sharing the same common good: the Faith and worship of the Catholic Church, the defence of the Faith. Having this same common good can create friendship amongst all our groups.

“I think that the closer we come to the end times, the more Catholics will have to be anarchists, not in principle but in practice. By which I mean, they will have to be against all the powers that be, because these will all have been neutralized, undermined or subverted, operating contrary to the natural order. Hence, in practice, Catholics will have to stand up to them all, in Church or State . . . because they will all be twisted out of shape, under Masonic influence . . . serving in any case the Prince of this world. So I think it will be very difficult to create any more worldwide structures. The French Dominican priest, Fr Roger Calmel, had a clear view of things. As far back as 1970 he said that the natural leaders in any given place will have to make their ministry shine out in that one place, being tied by bonds of no more than friendship to the leaders in any other place.

“In 1970, in the French periodical “Itineraires” (#149), he wrote: “The fight for the Faith will have to be fought by little groups refusing to enter into any structured or universal organizations. Within these various groups, such as a small school, a humble convent, a prayer group, a gathering of Christian families or the organizing of a pilgrimage, the authority is real and accepted by everybody . . . All that is needed is for each Catholic to reach as far as his grace and authority will carry him in the little sphere which is certainly his to lead, and which he will take charge of without having over him any grand administrative structures to make him do so’. “

If Fr. Calmel wrote that in 1970 for the circumstances of 1970, one might say either that he was seeing too far ahead, or that Archbishop Lefebvre proved by organizing the Society of St Pius X what could still be done in 1970. But I do think that Fr. Calmel was right in the long run. One might say, watching what happened to the Society last year, that it was bound to run into the sand. Archbishop Lefebvre, like Pope St Pius X, conducted a marvelous rearguard action, but one notes how much less the Archbishop could achieve, coming70 years later than the Pope, and now we are 40 years on from the Archbishop. In a world marching to its ruin the realization of Fr. Calmel’s prophecy could not be indefinitely delayed.

Dear readers, if we wish to stay with Our Lord, we have no choice but to gird our loins. In my opinion, Fr Calmel and Fr Rioult are right. Mother of God, Help of Christians, help!

Kyrie eleison.

Resistance Vision

Resistance Vision posted in Eleison Comments on August 24, 2013

A number of Catholic souls today keeping the Catholic Faith are scared by the direction still being taken at present by the leadership of the Society of St Pius X, and since they appreciate just how much they have received from the Society over the last few decades, they desperately wish for a replacement Society to take its place. They are scared by the different vision of a network of independent pockets of resistance being their future. They may be reassured to know that it was the vision of an outstanding prophet and pioneer of the Traditional movement, the French Dominican priest Fr Roger-Thomas Calmel (1914–1975). Here are pages, freely translated and adapted from the French, of his Brief Apology for the Church of all Time (pp. 48–51):—

“However crazily the Catholic hierarchy may behave, priests cannot take the place of bishops, nor can laity take the place of priests. Do we then think of setting up a huge worldwide league or association of priests and Christian layfolk to enter into dialogue with the hierarchy and force them to restore Catholic order? It is a grand and touching idea, but it is unreal. That is because any such group, wanting to be a Church group but being neither a diocese nor an archdiocese nor a parish nor a religious order, will come under none of the categories over which and for which authority is exercised in the Church. It will be an artificial grouping, an artefact unknown to any of the Church’s real groups which are established and recognized as such.

“So, as with every grouping together of men, the problem of leadership and authority will arise, and the huger the group, the sharper the problem. Unfailingly it will come down to this: being an association, the group must solve the problem of authority; being artificial (no kind of natural or supernatural group), it cannot solve the problem of authority. Rival sub-groups will rapidly arise, war will become inevitable, and there will be no canonical way to end or wage such a war.

“Are we then condemned to being able to do nothing amidst the chaos, often a sacrilegious chaos? I do not think so. Firstly, the indefectibility of the Church guarantees that down to the end of the world there will be enough of a genuine personal hierarchy to maintain the sacraments, in particular the Eucharist and Holy Orders, and to preach the one and only unchanging doctrine of Salvation. And secondly, whatever be the failings of the real hierarchy, we all of us, priests and laity, have our little part of authority.

“Therefore let the priest capable of preaching go to the limits of his power to preach, to absolve sins and to celebrate the true Mass. Let the teaching Sister go to the limits of her grace and her power to form girls in the Faith, good morals, purity and literature. Let every priest and layman, every little group of laity and priests having authority and power over a little fort of the Church and Christendom, go to the limits of their possibilities and powers. Let leaders and inmates of such forts know and be in contact with one another. Let each of the forts protected, defended, trained and directed in its praying and singing by a real authority, become as far as possible a fortress of holiness. That is what will guarantee the continuation of the true Church and will prepare efficaciously for its renewal in God’s good time.

“So we need not to be afraid, but to pray with all confidence and to exercise without fear, according to Tradition and in the sphere that is ours, the power we have, preparing thus for the happy time when Rome will come back to being Rome and bishops to being bishops.”

Kyrie eleison.