Tag: priesthood

“Marcellus Initiative”

“Marcellus Initiative” posted in Eleison Comments on November 10, 2012

After last week’s presentation of details of the “Marcellus Initiative” set up to facilitate donations to the cause of an « expelled » bishop, a few readers reasonably asked what the “Initiative” would be for. To begin with, it will cover his personal expenses of moving out of Wimbledon, maybe out of London, and then living elsewhere. Over and above those expenses, the word “Initiative” was chosen deliberately to leave options open. However, it is important that nobody should think that their donations will any time soon go to the setting up of a replacement for the Society of St Pius X or a substitute seminary. There are good reasons for not hurrying to do either.

As for an alternative to the SSPX, we must learn the lessons to be drawn from its present severe crisis. The Catholic Church runs on authority, from the Pope downwards, but our Revolutionary world has today so broken down men’s natural sense of authority that few know how to command, and most men obey either too little or too much. We have, so to speak, run out of that peasant common sense that enabled Catholic authority to function. Thus as God alone could establish Moses’ authority by a sensational chastisement of rebels (cf. Numbers XVI), so in our day surely God alone will be able to restore the Pope’s authority. Will it be by “a rain of fire,” such as Our Lady of Akita forewarned in Japan in 1973? Be that as it may, oases of the Faith remain an immediate and practical possibility, and I will do my best to serve them.

Similar arguments apply to the re-starting of a classical Catholic seminary. One cannot make bricks without straw, says the old proverb. It is more and more difficult to make Catholic priests out of modern young men, say I. Supernatural qualities of faith, good will and piety go a long way, but grace builds on nature, and the natural foundations, such as a solid home and a truly human education, are more and more lacking. Of course there are still good families where the parents have understood what their religion requires of them to put their children on the path to Heaven, and where they are doing their heroic best. But our wicked world is set upon destroying all common sense and natural decency, of gender, family and country. With the best of good will, the children of today’s social environment remain in general more or less severely handicapped when it comes to perceiving or following a call of God.

Does that mean that God has given up on his Church, or that he means to leave us without priests for tomorrow? Of course not. But it does mean that no Catholic organisation set up tomorrow to save souls can be allowed to lose its vision of the soul-destroying nature of the Conciliar Church and the modern world. It does mean that priests can no longer be formed tomorrow to have a perfect knowledge of St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiaewhile having little to no idea of how it applies in real life today.

By hook or by crook, tomorrow’s Congregations and seminaries must keep their grip on reality, and not get lost in dreams of how “normal” they are, or need to be. Can it be done? With God’s help, yes. But God is God, and for the salvation of souls tomorrow it may be that he will no longer resort to the classical Congregation or seminary of yesterday. For myself, I shall attempt to follow his Providence in the ordaining of priests – or in the consecrating of bishops. God’s will be done.

Kyrie eleison.

Dangerous Dreamland

Dangerous Dreamland posted in Eleison Comments on January 15, 2011

Somebody just sent me a few sentences of Fr. Denis Fahey (1883–1954), which prove that before Vatican II not every Catholic was “asleep at the switch.” Is that to say that many Catholics were? There can be no doubt of it. Moreover many still are, including a number of so-called Traditional Catholics, because the same causes produce the same effects, and the causes that gave rise to Catholics’ blindness in the mid-20th century are stronger than ever in this early 21st century.

Here is the brief extract from Fr. Fahey’s “Kingship of Christ and Organized Naturalism” (1943). (the sentences are numbered for purposes of commentary afterwards):— 1/ “Catholics are succumbing to the machinations of the enemies of Our Lord because they are not being trained for the real combat of this world. 2/ They leave school without an adequate knowledge of the organized opposition which they will be sure to encounter, and with only hazy notions on the points of the social order which they must defend . . . 3/ and Catholics who really fight for a true Christian order are always sure to find Catholics in the opposite camp.”

1/ Since the mass of people in today’s world no longer believe that the truly good life is to be led in Heaven with God, thanks to salvation through faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ and in his Church, then they trust in men to provide the good life on this earth, and so politics become in effect their religion, and their governments take the place of God’s Providence. It becomes then more and more difficult for people to believe that their governments and way of life are virtually controlled by the very real enemies of Our Lord – for instance, how could our governments possibly be lying to us about 9/11? Yet such trust in modern governments betrays a woeful grasp of reality, and however widespread it may be, if Catholics let themselves slip into sharing it (without toppling over into becoming revolutionaries), they will inevitably be “not trained for the real combat” of the Faith in this world. Moreover, buying into the dreamland here below, they will have serious difficulty reaching the real Heaven of the real God above.

2/ It may be difficult to teach schoolchildren and seminarians that Our Lord has bitter enemies, because their organized opposition is skilfully disguised. But the youngsters are “certain to encounter” that opposition, so unless that disguise is ripped off by the teachers preparing them for life or for the priesthood, the Catholic youngsters will be going into combat with blinkers, or with one hand tied behind their back. And since individualistic liberalism is heavily promoted by the enemies of Our Lord in order to dissolve what remains of Christian order, then the youngsters need in particular to learn well what Mother Church teaches on “the points of the social order that they must defend” and on the social nature of man.

3/ Alas, as that great Pope of the 19th century, Pius IX said, even the bitter enemies of Our Lord outside the Church are less to be feared than liberal Catholics within the Church. The latter will ridicule the idea that anybody could be “machinating” against Our Lord. After all, “Ithn’t evewybody nithe?” (“Isn’t everybody nice?,” said with an effeminate lisp.) No, they are not!

Fr. Fahey, pray for us!

Kyrie eleison.

Vocations – Wherefrom?

Vocations – Wherefrom? posted in Eleison Comments on October 2, 2010

After following over tens of years a variety of part-time and full-time courses in the Humanities at two universities in major cities of an “advanced” Western nation, Robert (as I will call him) finds himself in substantial agreement with the criticism of modern universities that appeared in a recent “Eleison Comments” (EC 158), but he has an interesting objection that goes one, or two, steps further. Let us begin with his live experience of today’s university “system.”

A few years ago, after seemingly endless years of study, Robert did finally obtain his Doctorate in history, but only just, and in such a way as to disqualify him from ever getting a job as a university professor. The politically correct system, he says, had successfully defended itself from his “extreme right” ideas. “The integrist had been muzzled, democracy had been saved. The imbecile had thrown himself in front of the steamroller, and he had been duly crushed, as easily as Winston in George Orwell’s famous novel, “1984.”

“Given my experience,” he writes, “I would recommend no youngster to study Humanities at any University, still less my own children. Let them rather choose some manual trade or advanced technical training, the ideal being to work for oneself, in the country or at most in a small town, so as to avoid today’s enslavement to salary.” Had he his life to live over again, he says, that is what he would do, because as a Catholic intellectual he feels that his action has been limited to giving witness.

However, Robert has a serious objection to this solution of preferring some manual trade or advanced technical training. In brief, engineers may be better paid than philosophers, but the clip-clear nature of their work – on-off, zero-one – will disincline them to take any interest in the human, all too human, complications of religion or politics. Ideally, one might be a technician by day and a poet by night, but in reality it is difficult to lead a life divided between such opposites, says Robert, and a man will normally lose interest in one or the other.

He observes the same tension within the Society of St Pius X school in his part of the world. In theory the Humanities there have pride of place, but in practice boys and staff tend to go for the Sciences because of the better job openings. The youngsters coming out of the school are correspondingly less well equipped to understand in depth the problems of the Conciliar Church or the modern world, as it seems to Robert. End of his testimony.

The problem is grave. For instance, the SSPX schools are under pressure to incline towards the sciences, but future priests surely need rather a good formation in the Humanities, because souls do not function on clip-clear one-zero, on-off. Yet if vocations do not come from the SSPX’s own schools, where will they come from? How are things spiritual to be protected in a whole world giving itself over to things material? How are boys’ souls to be oriented towards the priesthood? I have observed that what is decisive in many cases is their father taking his religion seriously. Read in the Old Testament the book of Tobias (neither long nor difficult to understand) to see how God rewards fathers through their sons.

Kyrie eleison.

Seventy Years

Seventy Years posted in Eleison Comments on March 13, 2010

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.

Kyrie eleison.

Mass Error

Mass Error posted in Eleison Comments on October 3, 2009

An interesting criticism of the Society of St. Pius X, mainly false but slightly true, was made by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in an interview which he gave ten days ago to a South German newspaper (text available on the Internet). He said that the SSPX leaders whom he met in 2000 gave him the impression of being fixated on the New Mass as though it were “the source of all evil in the world.”

Obviously the reform of the Latin liturgy of the Mass which followed on Vatican II (1962–1965) is not responsible for all evil in the world, but it is responsible for a great deal of the evil in the modern world. Firstly, the Roman Catholic religion is the one and only religion instituted by the one true God when he once, and only once, took human nature, becoming the God-man Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago. Secondly, Jesus Christ’s bloody self-sacrifice on the Cross, alone capable of placating the just wrath of God inflamed by today’s global apostasy, maintains that placation only through that sacrifice’s unbloody re-presentation in the true sacrifice of the Mass. Thirdly, the ancient Latin rite of that Mass, essential parts of which reach back to the beginnings of the Church, was significantly changed after Vatican II by Paul VI, in a manner which he himself told his friend Jean Guitton was designed to please the Protestants.

But all Protestants take their name from their protesting against Catholicism. That is why the rite of Mass reformed “in the spirit of Vatican II” severely dominishes the expression of essential Catholic truths: in order, 1/ Transubstantiation of the bread and wine, making 2/ the Sacrifice of the Mass, constituting in turn 3/ the sacrificing Priesthood, all by 4/ the intercession of the Blessed Mother of God. In fact the complete ancient Latin liturgy is the complete expression of Catholic doctrine.

If then it is primarily by attending Mass and not by reading books or by attending lectures that the great number of practising Catholics absorb these doctrines and live them out in real life, and if it is by so doing that they act as the light of the world against error and as the salt of the earth against corruption, then it is small wonder if today’s world is in such confusion and immorality. “Let us destroy the Mass, and we will destroy the Church,” said Luther. “The world can sooner do without the light of the sun than without the Sacrifice of the Mass,” said Padre Pio.

That is why Archbishop Lefebvre’s first priority in founding the SSPX was to save the ancient Latin rite of Mass. Thank God, it is slowly but surely making its way back into the mainstream Church (which it will not do under the Antichrist). But now his Society must save the full doctrinal underpinning of that Mass from the victims and perpetrators of Vatican II, still firmly ensconced in Rome. We must pray hard for the “doctrinal discussions” due to open this month between Rome and the SSPX.

Kyrie eleison.

Masterly Confusion

Masterly Confusion posted in Eleison Comments on November 15, 2008

Ever since Vatican II (1962–1965), a number of intelligent and serious Catholic souls have striven to prove that the changes made to the Latin Church’s sacramental rites by Pope Paul VI in particular render these rites automatically invalid. One might reply, if only it were that simple! But simplicity is no substitute for truth.

Here is how one such soul seeks to prove that the new rite of priestly Ordination is automatically invalid, and his argument is not without value:

Major: Wherever the words of a sacramental Form, essential to the validity of the sacrament, are significantly changed, or wherever the same words are being given in context a significantly different meaning, the Form, and with it the sacrament, can only be invalid.

Minor: Now the words themselves of the new Form of priestly Ordination have not been significantly changed, but in the context of the new rite taken as a whole, the same word of “priest” is being given a significantly different meaning, in accordance with the Council’s total revolutionizing of the Catholic priesthood.

Conclusion: Therefore never can a priest be validly ordained with the new rite.

In this argument, there is no problem with the Major, which is Catholic doctrine. As for the Minor, it is true that the words of the Form have remained essentially intact. It is also true that the whole drift of Vatican II and the post-Conciliar reforms is towards an emptying out of the Catholic priesthood, as of the whole Catholic religion, to replace it with a religion of man. But the argument above, to arrive at its conclusion, would have to prove that Conciliar documents and reforms in themselves positively exclude the Catholic priesthood and religion, because so long as the new rite can be taken not to exclude the true priesthood, it can still be used validly to ordain a true priest.

Alas (for purposes of clarity), the will of Paul VI as seen in all his reforms (and now of Benedict XVI) is so to introduce the new religion of man alongside the Catholic religion of God as to include and not exclude the latter! Now any sane mind cannot stand the idea of 2 and 2 being 5 in such a way as not to exclude their being 4. But Conciliar minds are not sane. They want to apostatize while still remaining Catholic! Thus the new rite of Ordination may omit many features of the Catholic ordination, but it introduces nothing that positively excludes a true ordination. If only it did! Then it could no longer deceive so many souls into thinking that it presents no problem for Catholics. Here is the problem: the drift of the text is to invalidate the true priesthood (2+2=5), but the text may still be used validly (2+2=4)! Sister Lucy of Fatima called it “Diabolical disorientation.”

Kyrie eleison.