The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century
HE IS RISEN !
N° 200 – July 2019
Director : Brother Bruno Bonnet‑Eymard
DOES EACH MEMBER OF THE CATHOLIC COUNTER-REFORMATION RECOGNISE THE ORDINARY MAGISTERIUM AND THE AUTHORITY OF THE BISHOP ON WHOM HE DEPENDS? WOULD HE BE WILLING TO WORK TOWARDS THE EVOLUTION OF THE COMMUNITY’S MONASTIC RULE?
If you are as yet unfamiliar with the events that launched this new round in the doctrinal debate that has been going on ever since Father Georges de Nantes took exception to the documents of the Second Vatican Council as they were being elaborated and voted during the Council, please read the previous article : At last ! the long-awaited answer from Rome has come via a questionnaire from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
FOURTH QUESTION :
“ Do you recognise the ordinary Magisterium and the authority of the bishop on whom you depend ? ”
We have doubts about the meaning of the term “ ordinary magisterium. ”
Does the author of the question understand it in the ‘ordinary’ sense, namely : a teaching that the Church has always and universally held to be certain ? Probably not.
In any event, our response will be the same as for the third question.
We fully recognise the legitimate authority of the bishops, successors of the Apostles, on whom we depend and we declare ourselves fully subject to their magisterium, but within the canonical limits of the legitimate exercise of their power of teaching, as heads of their respective Churches.
By virtue of our state of withdrawal of obedience and whilst awaiting an infallible and definitive decision of the Magisterium on the serious suspicions of heresy that we have concerning the new teachings – that is to say those for which it cannot be claimed that they originate from the unanimous Tradition of the Church –, we will discern to our best, according to the infallible criterion of this Tradition, what proceeds from the customary and Catholic Magisterium in order to submit ourselves to it, and what comes from this usurped authority for the Reformation of the Church, which we will always hold to be null and void.
FIFTH QUESTION :
In actual fact, this fifth question is a two-part question.
“ What are the statutes or regulatory texts of the community ? ”
Despite all Archbishop Pontier’s efforts to ignore ostensibly our religious state, the author of this question uses the term “ community ” when referring to us. It is all too obvious that, in the absence of any legal recognition, we do form a de facto religious community in the canonical sense of the term. Like all religious community, ours is in fact subject to a Rule.
Our Founder, Father Georges de Nantes, wrote this Rule in 1957. It is entitled “ Provisional Rule of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Villemaur. ” Villemaur, because it was in this small parish of his diocese that Bishop Julien Le Couëdic, at the time, Bishop of Troyes, authorised its establishment, on September 15, 1958. This provisional Rule is most certainly to be found in the archives of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life because Msgr. Philippe, then Secretary of the Congregation of Religious, approved it ‘ad experimentum’ in June 1963.
Sixty-one years have elapsed and our Order is still governed by this ‘provisional’ Rule, which has not prevented us from persevering in our vocation as Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, drawing our inspiration from Saint Margaret Mary and Father de Foucauld, under the guidance of our founder, Father de Nantes, their fervent disciple. And vocations have poured in…
Nevertheless, our religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience remain ‘private vows’ since they have not been recognised by the legitimate Authority who is the local Ordinary in communion with the Pope. In the meanwhile, however, we take them under the veil of the Most Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, the true General and Protector of our Communities since our Founder “ made way ” for Her, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the year of grace 1997.
Since this time, just as for the devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Little Brothers and the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart embrace the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and zealously spread it in order to comply with God’s will as revealed by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 : “ God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. ” (June 13, 1917) In particular, the brothers and sisters practice and make known the reparatory devotion of the First Saturdays of the month that brings together the friends of our movement at Maison Saint-Joseph. At least one chaplet is recited every day in community to obey Our Lady of Fatima.
So as to keep the Spirit of the Church, and “ undertake the purification of their minds from the venom of independence and criticism in order to seek truth and unity ” (Provisional Rule, Article 22,) postulants and novices begin by steeping themselves in the whole doctrine and work of our Founder, which is nothing other than the defence and illustration of Catholic doctrine. He constantly meditated on this doctrine and perfected it in response to the errors propagated by the Second Vatican Council.
“ Would you be willing to forward them to us, and if necessary, to work towards their evolution if the legitimate ecclesiastical authority considers it appropriate to do so ? ”
We reply to the author of this question : your request is unseasonable ! Here is why.
Our religious Rule itself, conceived and written in 1957 before the death of Pius XII, constitutes a Rule of life in all respects contrary to the “ evolution ” that the hierarchy considered “ appropriate ” to impose on all traditional religious Orders, particularly in regard to the chapter on obedience towards their founders. The Church today is experiencing the cruel consequences of a ‘Reformation’ that has abolished the very notion of masters and disciples in the name of freedom ! It is precisely out of fidelity to our vow of obedience that we refrain from communicating our Rule to an ecclesiastical authority, however legitimate it may be, but which has clearly resolved to make it evolve even before having examined it.
Our Father has always considered the personal vocation of Little Brother and Little Sister of the Sacred Heart that is ours, and the canonical recognition of our Communities as secondary issues in relation to the fight for Counter-Reformation, which is the service the most useful to the Church, although this is certainly not always understood by the hierarchy.
Since we question the orthodoxy of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent teachings of the Supreme Pontiffs and the entire hierarchy, our withdrawal of obedience also and necessarily implies the maintenance of the ‘provisional,’ ‘ad experimentum’ status of our Communities, pending the doctrinal judgement that our Father, and we follow him, forcefully require. This humiliated and humiliating status, rejected by all traditionalist movements, is the one to which our Father has consented for him and his Communities, wisely judging that it is the only one that is appropriate to remain in the Church, certainly in the last place, but without compromising with the Reform initiated at the Second Vatican Council and which we publicly denounce.
According to the rule laid down by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, works in the Church are primarily judged by their fruits. We are obliged to admit that those produced by our Communities and our movement are certainly modest from a natural point of view, but excellent from a supernatural point of view. Is not Archbishop Pontier’s intervention, despite all the terminological precautions he took in his letter, sixty-one years after the foundation of our Order in the diocese of Troyes and its subsequent installation in several other dioceses, indirect recognition of these fruits ?
In the absence of any support, protection or pastoral care that the hierarchy could and should have shown us, despite our serious doctrinal dispute, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart have persevered, with the grace of the Good God, in their vocation of religious missionaries. Their Communities have overcome all the obstacles that have constantly arisen, some of which were humanly insurmountable. Somehow, they have managed to preserve their unity, which is humanly inexplicable. No scandal, no disorder, no irregularity of any kind whatsoever has come to taint their reputation and therefore that of the Church, their one and only family. In the 1990s, an attempt was made to label us as a sect. Paradoxically, social, fiscal and police investigations have had no other effect than to highlight the perfect regularity of our Community life. All our houses are honourably known, and on all matters !
Since our Founder was called into the presence of God on February 15, 2010, our unity has not in the least weakened and this demonstrates that it is based on the Truth of the Catholic Faith received from the Church. Our attachment, our affection, our admiration for our Founder were not focused only on his person. His prodigious work – which he has entrusted to us and on which we and our friends live every day, while awaiting the time when we will be able to entrust it to the legitimate ecclesiastical authority – and his very paternal heart encourage us to love above all the Good God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the Church whom we want to serve.
Our Communities never make those who want to follow us in our Counter-Reformation fight lose the faith. On the contrary, these Communities strengthen their love, their admiration for the Church, and not only for the Church of the past. Furthermore they dissuade them from letting this Reformation drive them to despair, to the temptation of abandoning all religious practice or of taking refuge in an integrist chapel. Our communities, through the regularity of our religious life, through prayer and through the teachings of our Father, help them to maintain a supernatural trust in the Church and her legitimate pastors. On all occasions, and despite our dispute on doctrinal matters, we take part in all liturgical or parish services celebrated by ministers of religion in communion with the local Ordinary and we ask our friends to do the same by remaining ‘faithful’ to their parishes, to their priests.
In short, our Order has long proven its ecclesiality. So as far as its canonical recognition is concerned… let us leave it at that. The conditions have not yet been met for this issue to be included on the agenda.
Our Lady of Fatima wanted the ‘Third Secret’ to be revealed in 1960. Today we can understand why : Her warnings were intended to dissuade the Holy Father from undertaking a “ reformation ” of the Church. The most clear-sighted of his entourage could foresee that it would lead the Church to her ruin.
John XXIII, however, after having read this text, spurned it, declaring : “ This does not concern my pontificate. ” That is why he did not pay heed to the Angel’s threefold appeal to penance, according to the forecasts of Sister Lucy to Father Fuentes in 1957 :
“ We should not wait for an appeal to come from Rome, on behalf of the Holy Father, calling on the whole world to do penance. Nor should we wait for it to come from our bishops in their dioceses or from the religious congregations. No ! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also all the souls that God has placed on our path. ”
John XXIII’s successor, Paul VI, was in reality “ the Bishop dressed in white. ” The three children of Fatima had the presentiment that he was the Holy Father, although he had been divested of the insignia of his sovereignty. Today, we understand that Pope Paul VI had laid down his tiara as a sign that he was forsaking his triple crown : the infallible doctrinal Magisterium, the universal primacy of his government, the work of sanctification of his flock through the sacraments, which have been abandoned or even desecrated by an oecumenical “ communicatio in sacris. ”
It is the Angel who makes a triple call to penance :
“ Penance, penance, penance ! ”
“ And we saw, in an immense light that is God, ‘something similar to the image a mirror reflects when a person passes in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White – ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’
“ Several other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious were climbing a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a large Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with its bark. Before reaching there, the Holy Father passed through a large city half in ruins and half trembling, with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way. ”
He remains the head of this Church. That is why he is said to be only “ half trembling, with halting step ” as he passes through this Church, itself “ half in ruins. ” The Church is built on the “ rock, ” the Pope, who is “ afflicted with pain and sorrow. ” Pope Francis seems predestined to live out the tragic outcome produced by the abdication from the Magisterium, the government and the sanctification for which he nevertheless remains responsible.
“ In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. ”
During the past century, we have been living through all the phases of the great Secret. Its conclusion reveals the Paradise of Mary, the domain of the Blessed Virgin, the land, the home, the family of Fatima, “ oasis of purity, of freshness, of joy and of Marian devotion, which remains the showcase of Paradise in the midst of this world’s hell and purgatory, so that none of Mary’s children go astray or get lost in these difficult years. ” Knowing that “ Fatima is to be found wherever a soul, a family, a parish, a convent, a nation adheres to Heaven’s messages, a veritable catechesis, and fulfils Our Lady’s requests which, through Her grace, are a true practice of the unchanged true religion. ”
“ There is plenty of room in this ‘new Jerusalem, come down from Heaven, from God, the holy City, perfect and prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband’ on the day of her wedding. ”
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is in fact a “ refuge for all, ” always willing to welcome the “ castaways of this world, ” and it is in this “ City of Mary ” that the definitive victory of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is being prepared, firstly in Rome, and via Rome, throughout the world, including the land of Islam : from Rabat to Djakarta. At the very moment when our Father founded our Community of missionary monks, he made me responsible for proposing a new translation of the Qurʾān, in the light of an intuition that proved to be extremely fruitful : the Qurʾān is the work of “ a scholar from elsewhere. ”
This arduous but fascinating work was made possible by applying to the Qurʾānic text the historical and critical method, and particularly the method of exegesis that our Father had enjoyed learning in the seminary to study Holy Scripture. He communicated to us his enthusiasm for the historical and critical method. Once the Qurʾān has been studied in this way, it proves to be the product of a Jewish and Christian wisdom, which its author claims to “ fulfil, ” – after Moses and Jesus ! – in Islam, the perfect religion of the unique Covenant of the One God with Abraham – and Ishmael !
This prodigious discovery prompted our Father to write : “ Whereas for sincere believers, from Islam as much as from Judaism, and still more for those of our holy Catholic religion, the constant reference of the author of the Qurʾān to the Torah and to the Gospel, which you have brought to light, not only provides the key to a text thereby made intelligible and coherent, but is more especially an urgent invitation to return together to the one and pure truth of the divine Revelation, so that we find ourselves all united, if possible, in the same worship and the same love […].
Thus we are brought back by the author of the text, better than by all the modern, and often modernist, commentaries generally encumbered by a repellent scientific apparatus, to the mystery of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary, in that fullness of truth which Saint John beheld and was inspired to reveal to the world, ” after having “ taken into his home ” the Virgin, Whom Jesus had given to him as Mother for ever, from the summit of the Cross.
Please accept, Excellency, my respectful and devoted wishes,
Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary,
Superior General of the Order of the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart.