AGAINST THE SCHISMATIC DRIFT
a third Vatican Council
WHILE the rebel integrists in the spring of 1971 were pursuing their battle for the Mass and preparing their second pilgrimage to Rome, in the course of which they would demand the right to retain the rite of Saint Pius V, Fr. de Nantes mobilised the members of the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation for another type of action. He “ resolutely turned their minds towards the future, towards the dénouement of the Church’s crisis ”1, by launching a campaign on the theme “ Tomorrow, Vatican III ” during a public meeting in Paris, in the Iéna Hall, on May 13.
Two days before he had gone to pray in the chapel of the Miraculous Medal at the rue de Bac.
“ Providentially, ” he will write shortly afterwards, “ I arrived just at the moment when the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was being carried into the Church. It was to go on to Pontmain the next day. It was unspeakably sad to see how surreptitiously it was received in Paris, without flowers or candles, hymns or crowds. It was said that the local authorities had forbidden any ceremony. How pitiful ! Paris closed to its Queen !
“ And then there was our May 13. After a vibrant Credo, I gave a two hour talk on the necessity of preparing for Vatican III, explaining how it would come about and be realised. It received great support from the Parisians who filled the Iéna Hall and the entrance lobby. I informed them of the important meeting we would hold on October 14, 1971 to mark the opening of the CRC’s preparatory work for Vatican III. ”1
THE CRC TAKES UP CARDINAL SUENENS’ CHALLENGE
Even before the Council ended, Fr. de Nantes had foreseen how truly useful and even necessary a new Council would be in order to restore the faith and to promote the renewal of the Church. “ The innovators ”, he remarked on October 15, 1964, “ are getting ready for Vatican III, and I am not jesting. We must not be caught sleeping during this time. ”2 Six months later, we find him hoping that Vatican III would contain a “ divine surprise ”3. Then, in a conversation with the journalist André Giovanni in October 1965, that is at the beginning of the last session of Vatican II, he spelt out what the work of the restorative Vatican III would involve :
“ Yes, a renewal would be desirable, if not urgent, but we must first reach the end of the subversion. ” Giovanni interrupts him : “ Isn’t that the task of Vatican II ? ” – “ No, but it might be of Vatican III. This time it will be a ‘ reform ’ of the Restoration type, after the iconoclasts and the daubers have done their worst. It will then be a matter of struggling against the fearful current in order to save the young clergy from apostasy and the religious order from the mental and moral anarchy into which they have fallen, even the enclosed orders, even the women congregations ! The future Council will have to bring the clergy back to serious theological study and to deliver them from the fumes of Freudism, Marxism and Teilhardism, condemning their theories without appeal. Such a Council is also needed to re-establish discipline amongst the clergy and a sense of pride in the faith. Those who will convince them to take up again their soutane, their crucifix and their Rosary will be great men of God !
“ Yes, we will then see a springtime of the Church, a time of renewal for Christendom ! This will be task of the saints of the twentieth century ! It will be deeply moving and uplifting to witness or share in this honourable reinstatement of the treasures of the Church’s holiness and wisdom, before the eyes of the faithful and of the whole world ! For this reform of the clergy, we will be able to draw our inspiration from the methods of the great Councils which, in our presumptuous decadence, we currently despise ”4.
If the innovators were hoping for and even demanding a new Council, this was in order to consolidate the precarious conquests of Vatican II. In August 1967, at Toronto, during a theology congress, Cardinal Suenens had declared, in the presence of Cardinals Léger, Garrone, Koening and Brown : “ Whether we like it or not, we are currently en route towards a Vatican III, the features of which cannot as yet be clearly discerned. This Vatican III will, in its turn, have to bring out what Vatican II only contained in germ, to draw out its potential and to make its prospective riches explicit. ”5 In 1971, whilst making a bid to succeed Paul VI, Cardinal Suenens noisily proclaimed that the Vatican II reforms were superficial and that so far the changes had failed to meet the needs of the hour : “ The theology of Vatican II, a theology which only accepts change within the context of continuity, is already outdated. The Church is moving towards the theology of Vatican III, a theology of discontinuity necessitated by a complete change of circumstances, a reversal of the previous situation. ”6
“ The announcement of a new Council ”, remarked Fr. de Nantes, “ when we have only just had the last one, a disaster whose birth the Church is yet to recover from, is likely to arouse the protests of normally peaceful people.
“ The integrists, those who came off worst at Vatican II, are now unable to imagine a new Council that would not result in their final overthrow. No, they want nothing to do with it at any price.
“ The moderate reformers – such as Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Daniélou, as well as the majority of bishops and the greater part of the priests and the faithful – do not want a Vatican III either, for they fear that it would precipitate a movement of reform which they are hoping to check rather than to encourage further. This party would much prefer to keep within the bounds of their current conquests. They accept and praise the Vatican II Reform precisely because it managed to avoid going to extremes. They regards its half-measures as sacrosanct, and they strive to arrest the see-saw in the horizontal position of a tactful liberalism which will put a stop to revolutionary extremes and offer no justification for reactionary protest. It took the iron hand of Paul VI, albeit encased in a velvet glove, to steer Vatican II to its conclusion. So they certainly do not want to risk another Council of Reform ! ”7
However, Fr. de Nantes’ reaction was quite different. Inspired by his ardent faith and his invincible hope in the triumph of the Church over the powers of hell, our Father could not be held back. Let us listen to him resolutely declaring himself in favour of a new Council : “ As of now ”, he told his audience at the Iéna Hall on May 13, 1971, “ we are, as our opponents say, a ‘ signed-up party ’ ! Cardinal Suenens is right, although perhaps not quite in the way he imagines : there will have to be a new Council, there will inevitably be another Council. And we, on our side, must prepare ourselves for it, in order that it may be our revenge – I use the word deliberately – and our victory !
“ To the integrists we say : The course of history has to continue. Despite the worst disasters, our theological arguments will go on and come to a head. If the Church is to remain alive, she can only do so by laboriously purging herself of the errors that have been poisoning her for the last ten or hundred years. To the moderate reformists, the conservatives, we say : You will not be able to stop this movement in the middle of its course. The slogans you have rashly spread throughout the world have their own logic. You may have sown a mild wind, but you will reap the tempest. If you think you can hold these crazy ideas in check, you are deluded. You must either accept them entirely or deny them. Nothing short of a Counter-Reformation can stem the tide of criticism against dogma and halt the ecclesiastical revolution which you have unleashed and are now lamenting. Therefore, instead of moaning and vainly preaching about returning to the moderation of the past, let us all prepare for this Vatican III which Cardinal Suenens is requesting, for there lies the future ! This time, no one will be sleeping. The two opposing irreconcilable sides will take each other by the throat and not let go until one or the other lies stretched out dead on the Square of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is either us or them. There can be no more deceitful compromises. It is the Church herself which is at stake, her faith, her divine charity and her Catholic unity. Vatican III will be the Ecumenical Council which, through infallible definitions and solemn anathemas, will free the Church from the armies of Satan encamped within her walls. The other hypothesis, that of a solemn apostasy, is effectively excluded. ”8
THERE WILL HAVE TO BE A NEW COUNCIL
Some readers raised an objection to his announcement that there would have to be a new Council to carry out the Church’s Counter-Reformation : “ Why do you want a new Council ? Might not the Counter-Reformation be carried out simply by a Pope, someone who would reform the clergy and restore the Apostolic Authority ? ”
“ Our reply ”, Fr. de Nantes explained to them, “ is based on both logic and history. That which is undone by one Ecumenical Council can only be restored by another Ecumenical Council. Contrary to certain relatively recent and superficial conceptions, the whole history of the Church bears this truth out. The great errors, the great disorders of the centuries of heresy and decadence were not repaired by Popes acting single-handedly, however energetic they might be, but only by Councils in which the bishops of the whole world were involved, together with the Pope and acting under his direction in the vital task of renovation. After the suspension of the Council of Trent in 1552, Cardinal Carafa, by then Pope Paul IV, preferred to complete the urgent task of the Counter-Reformation all by himself. But his actions were too marked with his personal and exclusive authority to be truly followed by the whole Church. Pius IV, wiser if less firm, reconvened the Council and brought it to a conclusion, in 1562-1563, in such a way that the Body of bishops felt they shared responsibility for it with the Pope and accepted its teachings and laws, thus procuring for the Church, from the days of Saint Pius V and Saint Charles Borromeo until those of Pius XII, four hundred years of peace, greatness and universal influence.
“ Vatican II never made the whole Christian people quiver with holy emotion or spontaneous joy. It is simply false to claim otherwise ! It was nothing but a noisy propaganda trick supported by the Judeo-masonic powers of the West and by the Red coffers of the countries of the East. But Vatican III will be entirely different. From the moment of its opening, it will inspire a wonderful sense of exhilaration throughout the Church and far beyond her frontiers, attracting all hearts towards her. What will be its opening magnetic discourse ?
“ Well, we can be sure of one thing. It will be the very opposite of the sinister defeatism and bad spirit spread by the discourse of October 11, 1962, dies nefastus ! It will be an act of thanksgiving to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for the power, the glory, the beauty and the incomparable fruitfulness of the Roman Catholic Church, pronounced by her head, the Sovereign Pontiff. The Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth will manifest, in his whole bearing and in everything he says, the triumphant serenity of the people beloved of God, who are making their way, under His guidance, towards the heavenly Jerusalem. Any Catholic with even the least fervour or poetic flare could provide a draft of the Pope’s discourse… All that is needed is to give rein to an ardent Catholic faith. And at this inspired Address, the 3000 bishops of the world will stand up. Their hearts will be uplifted as of one accord, and they will be stirred with an immense sense of certitude, of a hope regained and of an unlimited joy after the long period of humiliation.
“ The Council will proclaim the eternal Credo of the Church. As a consequence, those who do not accept it or who argue about it will, after explaining themselves, be asked to retract or to take themselves off. The Church will only allow those who believe to speak in the chamber ; she will withdraw this right from those who do not believe. Those bent upon continuing their ‘ search ’ or their ‘ dialogue ’, the partisans of the old liberalism and the new pluralism, and the senile who simply remain dumbfounded before the ‘ unspeakable ’ and ‘ ineffable ’ character of the Mystery, will have to be sent back to their dear studies and to their precious silence… Finished the criminal uncertainty of the Pastors, finished the field day of the experts. The Word of God and Catholic dogma are absolute truths which have been clearly defined and cannot be reformed. It will be good, nay essential, to formulate a certain number of anathemas condemning the capital errors of our time and the men who uphold them and spread them among the Christian people. They must be taught severely that one does not play around with the faith. In this way the hierarchy will clear itself of the suspicion of heresy which has lain upon it for the last ten years. It will prove that it is the first to believe in the revealed truth, which it has an essential mission to preach and defend in Christ’s name.
“ I know the modernists and progressivists too well to expect that they will resist the prevailing trend in any great numbers. Almost all of them suffer from an unbelievable cowardice and are incapable of openly resisting or even of having convictions which go against the tide of public opinion. They cowered before Pius XII. They only terrorise us because of their greater numbers. It would need no more than the Pope alone – were he sure of God and himself, strong and menacing – to make all these dogs return to their kennel. And those with a passion for heresy, the small number of incorrigible heretics, will be cast outside to everybody’s great relief. No, I am not afraid of Vatican III, nor need anyone else be. Still, it would be prudent and wise and a wonderfully good thing to consolidate the victory of orthodoxy by deciding on the programme of a vast restoration of the Church and of the new spirit of her mission. ”9
Whilst Fr. de Nantes was engaged in taking up the challenge of Cardinal Suenens, the “ Philistine from Mechelen ”, and calling for a true and great Vatican III to put an enthusiastic end to the rotten corpse of the Vatican II Reform, Paul VI criticised this twofold contestation and gave an implicit rebuke to these opponents of the left and the right. The Pope preached a kind of moderate reformism and manifested an unfailing attachment to the teachings of his baneful Council. At Castelgandolfo, during a General Audience on September 1, 1971, he declared :
“ The Council is like a great providential catechism for our times given to us by the Holy Spirit. We can be sure of drawing from it whatever we need to feed our reflections and to nourish them at the most pure sources of our faith. Vatican II is not out of date, as has sometimes been said too lightly. Quite simply, it has not yet been sufficiently lived. If everyone – priests, men and women religious, and members of the faithful – had it at heart to enter generously into the perspective it opens, then yes, there would truly be a new springtime in the Church, one which would infuse in the world the spiritual energies for which it has today such an immense need. ”10
VATICAN II… DISQUALIFIED ! VATICAN III INFALLIBLE.
To extract this “ worm gnawing away at the entrails of the Church ”11, to eradicate this unassimilable conciliar Reform, Fr. de Nantes therefore called for a Vatican III that would be dogmatic and infallible, unlike Vatican II which had wished to be neither. Thus he took pains to explain once again12 in January 1972 why Vatican II was, to sum it up in one word, a Council that was… “ disqualified ”13 !
“ The Ecumenical Councils of the past all ended in the proclamation of dogmatic and moral truths that were necessary to the survival of the Church. They were formulated in definitions and rounded off by anathemas in a manner that left no loophole for heresy or schism. The Acts of this Solemn Magisterium were universally recognised as infallible and, consequently, binding (Journet, L’Église du Verbe Incarné, vol I. p. 536-541).
“ Vatican II having decided as a matter of principle that it would not condemn anyone, the question arose time and again during its sessions, of the exact ‘ theological qualification ’ of the Acts which it would promulgate. Were these to be regarded as infallible, at least by virtue of that infallibility which attaches to the unanimous and traditional convictions of all the bishops in union with the Pope, that is to say by virtue of their ‘ ordinary and universal magisterium ’ (D.B., 1792) ? If not, would these consequently fallible Acts be obligatory ? and obligatory to the extent that those who rejected their teaching or directives would be condemned and excluded from the communion of the Church ?
“ The Doctrinal Commission of Vatican II spent a year preparing its reply to these fundamental questions. This reply appears today in the appendices to the Constitution Lumen gentium. The text is sibylline or, let us say, non-committal. To explain it, three theologians of worldwide renown give their commentaries in the collection Unam sanctam, and what they write if of major interest. They are Fathers Betti14 from Italy, Ratzinger15 from Germany (a disciple of Rahner), and Congar16 from France. ”17
Fr. de Nantes subscribed entirely to the first observation made by these three theologians : Vatican II contains no dogmatic definitions. Furthermore, he stressed the tremendous significance of Betti’s conclusion : “ The doctrine of Vatican II is not defined in the strict sense of the word. That is why its repudiation does not automatically involve loss of ecclesiastical communion as does the profession of a heresy. ”17
Nevertheless, as servile doctors of reformism who were intent on concluding that the assent of the faithful to the teachings of Vatican II was obligatory, these three theologians went on to formulate some fine sophisms. Fr. de Nantes dissected their commentaries of the text of the Doctrinal Commission of Vatican II, a text that was “ by design perfectly obscure and wholly dependent on the free and uncertain interpretations of theologians ”17. All of which allowed him to demonstrate yet one more time that “ Vatican II was ‘ a second class Council ’, a Council of division and uncertainty, and – according to the expression of Betti who could not put it better, even though he in fact denied it – a Council that was… ‘ disqualified ’ ! ”17
Although it had renounced the exercise of its solemn or extraordinary Magisterium, Vatican II was still quite capable of repeating the unanimous, universal and continual teaching of the Church’s Magisterium. “ This it did very abundantly ”, Brother Bruno will go on to explain, “ and in this respect it clearly enjoyed the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium. But it was not this traditional aspect of its teaching which it wished to use to engage the world’s attention, and today this teaching is largely forgotten. What is distinctive about Vatican II is this set of novelties presented as revolutionary, novelties inherited from various dissident traditions and introduced into the Church under the pretext of Reform and mutation. This set of heterodox doctrines does not form the object of any solemn teaching and cannot pretend to come under the ordinary teaching. It therefore belongs to neither one nor the other of the two ways through which the light of the Holy Spirit comes to us. ”18
OCTOBER 14, 1971 :
INAUGURATING THE PREPARATORY STUDIES FOR VATICAN III
The public meeting organised in the Mutualité that day by the League of the CRC marked the “ opening of the proceedings against Vatican II and the work of preparing public opinion for Vatican III, a Council to restore the Church and reconcile Catholics ”19
“ It was necessary ”, Mr. Jacques Mourot will explain, “ to go to the very root of the trouble. And so, on the occasion of our first great public meeting of the League on October 14, 1971, Brother Bruno of Jesus, Fr. de Linares and Fr. de Nantes presented to us the damning balance sheet of the conciliar reform and started us on the absorbing task of preparing for Vatican III. The only way to destroy an evil is to build something good on its ruins, for the only way that error can be explained and ultimately banished is through truth.20
That evening, on the platform of the Mutualité, thirty CRC circle leaders surrounded the speakers. “ Many of the audience ”, Fr. de Nantes pointed out, “ were surprised to hear Brother Bruno and Fr. de Linares speaking before me and for as long as me, and delighted at the solidity and perfection of their talks, – I who cannot bear to work with anyone !… another prejudice to bite the dust. Finally, there was the courteous behaviour of the hall, which was a revelation for many. Warm applause broke out at the most suitable moments, often in support of some bold conclusions. Friends from Rome and a Canadian priest who had come specially for this meeting marvelled at it as something that could not even be conceived elsewhere. There is in France a very well informed Catholic opinion, capable of following three hours of theological exposition and of subscribing almost unanimously to our CRC doctrine. For us it was a moment of pride, for the Church a moment of hope.21
REOPENING THE FILE ON VATICAN II
During that memorable evening, Brother Bruno reopened the file on Vatican II by presenting an objective analysis of the dynamics of the Council : At its opening, on October 11, 1962, there was “ an ambiguous optimism ” based on “ a façade of unanimity ”. Right from the beginning, the “ pastoral orientation ”, which will prevent the Fathers from defining any dogma or condemning any error, constituted the “ turning point ” of the Council. Once launched down this track, the Fathers would elaborate “ compromise texts, triumphs of ambiguity ” which would eventually be accepted by everyone thanks to Paul VI’s clever braking manoeuvres, well calculated to appease the concerns of the integrist minority.
But, in the final analysis, the unanimity attained by Vatican II was no more than apparent and deceptive : “ This unanimity was a snare. In juridical terms, one might say that the Acts of the Council possess nothing but a ‘ colourful title ’. Some voted yes because of the novelties contained in these texts. Others voted yes because of the restrictions and reservations added to these Acts – in an all too apparent collusion – in order to save their Catholic character ! And the mass of the bishops accepted everything, since it was enough for them to know that this was what the Pope wanted. ”22
THE platform of speakers, surrounded by twenty-five circle leaders, at the public meeting on October 14, 1971, organised by the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, in the great hall of the Mutualité, on the theme : “ Tomorrow, Vatican III ”.
Brother Bruno is at the microphone giving his talk : “ Father de Nantes has often pointed out the following dilemma in connection with the Council, and nobody has ever made a serious reply to it. Either the Council limited itself to matters of secondary importance which are subject to change – in which case it is the least of all the Councils. Or else, as they say and would have us believe, it is a great Council, the greatest in history, one which ushers in a new era – in which case its reforms must have focused on the essentials and its renewal on what was previously considered unchangeable… For if not, it cannot have done anything very much ! It was the collective vanity involved in being such a great Council that led the Fathers to replace the theocentric religion of all times with a new anthropocentric ‘ pastoral theology ’. ”
THE OVERWHELMING LESSON OF THE POST-COUNCIL :
“ THE OPPONENT OF VATICAN II SAW THINGS CORRECTLY ”
The second talk was by Fr. de Linares, who analysed the last five years of postconciliar decadence. Starting from his own experience, this secular priest demonstrated that it was impossible to “ oppose any of the excesses of reformism effectively without first contesting the Reform itself. To accept Vatican II means having to accept every aspect of it. One can no more have a part in such a Reform than one could have had a part in the Revolution. It is global and permanent, it is authoritative and collegial. ”23 The good passages in the Acts of the Council had proved to be ineffective for fighting the good fight, whilst the bad ones had allowed the innovators to wage their revolution with impunity in every domain, all “ in the name of Vatican II ”.
Let us listen to Fr. de Linares’ testimony :
As soon as the Council closed, “ one immediately noticed at the ‘ grassroots ’ level of the parish a striking discrepancy between the high-sounding optimism of the theoreticians of the Reform on the one hand and the cooling of devotion, the falling-off in religious practice and the general indifference on the other. At that time I was based at Lilas and well-placed to judge of these things ! It was the opponent of Vatican II who had seen things correctly. By some kind of systematic pessimism perhaps ? No, that would be a facile judgement. He had foretold, as something unavoidable, the very crisis that had actually happened and in the identical form which I observed. And he had foreseen its hidden relationship with the Council : as a matter of logic, this Reform would spell the Church’s ruin, and this ruin would in turn spell disaster for the world. There was not a day when my work as a priest did not bring a hundred examples of this : everything was falling into confusion, scepticism, disorder… Six years have now passed. That there is a crisis in the Church, nobody contests any longer. That this ruin dates from the Council is proved by everything and, most cruelly, by the statistics. So, is it still possible to deny that the Council was its direct, determinative and permanent cause ?
“ Fr. de Nantes had established this relationship a priori, that is to say before events had had a chance to prove it, and he did so purely by an in-depth study of the conciliar documents. He knew how to see the effects in their very causes. Just as Bainville in 1920 knew, with an uncanny precision, how to read within the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles the train of events that, twenty years later, would lead to the Second World War. At this level, the prediction appears almost prophetic. These specialist works honour the genius of their authors, but they scarcely touch the masses.
“ But after the event, a posteriori, their demonstrations become blindingly obvious because they are corroborated by the facts. And it would be criminal to continue to deny them. The Gospel clearly states : ‘ You shall know them by their fruits… ’ When a priest has seen for himself, on a daily basis, these fruits of the conciliar Reform – the horrifying disintegration of Catholicism within the space of five years – how can he hesitate a second longer to designate this Council as the source of all our misfortune ?
“ If I had any doubts left upon this point, they would have been dispelled by the following observation. Each time that sensible people, or let us say well-meaning traditionalists, invoke some text of the Council against the demolitionists, nobody takes any notice of them including those high up. It is as though these texts had no value and this Council lacked any authority. It is fruitless to argue : ‘ The Council says that… ’ It is a waste of time ! The hierarchy remain deaf, as if they were being reminded about texts that were completely irrelevant. On the other hand, every new act of subversion is, rightly or wrongly, carried out in the name of the Council and appeals to its spirit, its orientations, its dynamic, etc. It is enough for the instigators to pronounce the magic word ‘ Vatican II ’ and Authority will bend over backwards, no questions asked. And so the faithful are surrendered into their hands and enslaved to their inventions. If this only happened once or twice, one could perhaps put it down to chance. But it is in fact the history of all our debates, of all our resistance, over the last six years of the Post-Council. I have frequently seen traditionalists worsted when opposing even the crudest forms of heresy or the wildest kinds of anarchy because they based their case on the Council and it was automatically perceived that it did not belong to them ! But I have seen modernists and progressivists with the hierarchy laid out at their feet simply because they mentioned the Council. It makes one think !
“ My own experience, as a young priest, a curate in a Paris suburb, is that those who have professed to follow the Council loyally and to adopt its Reform have all, to a man, been caught up in the meshes of the new ‘ pastoral theology ’. In this solidarity with the reformers, they have found themselves led to act against their conscience or to allow their fellow priests to act in this way, without any power of stopping them or even showing their disapproval.
“ So, letter or spirit, acts or orientations… these artificial distinctions and contrasts have no basis in fact. Once you accept the Council, you are caught up in the unlimited and unending whirlwind of the Church’s autodemolition, either as an actor or as a sad but powerless spectator. ”24
Fr. de Linares recalled the series of defeats suffered by integrism in its opposition to the triumphant subversion. So many lost battles ! For instance, the battle against Teilhard, the battle against the new catechisms, the battle over the Eucharist and in a sense over the Mass. “ What I found most enlightening was that passage in Paul VI’s Allocution on November 26, 1969 in which the Pope referred to the universal abandonment of Latin in favour of the vernacular languages as though it were a decision of the Council. The actual Council and its official Acts said nothing of the sort. They were in fact very explicit in decreeing the contrary. It is not that the Pope was misled or was attempting to deceive the Church. It is simply the proof – sufficient in its own right – that for its authors the Council is a spirit, a new mentality, a tendency, a party, and that it is defined, not by what it was, but by what it is becoming and will continue to become : a permanent, unlimited and universal Reform of the Church. When they talk about the Council, they mean the Reform. And for the Christian people it is as natural to change the Mass as to change one’s shirt, because the Council means change, and vice versa !
“ Allow me to say that people could have saved themselves a lot of wasted energy if, instead of attacking madcap reformism in the name of moderate reformism, they had been a little more reflective and attacked reformism full stop, since it is indivisible in its pact, its principles and its men. The Reform is like a monolith. It needed to be opposed by the monolith of a Counter-Reform that has no fissures and is even harder still, and then we would have conquered. ”25
Warm applause from an enthusiastic hall.
COUNTER-REFORMATION AND RENEWAL
On that October 14, 1971, Fr. de Nantes set forth his plans regarding the dogmatic work of Vatican III, a Council of Counter-Reform but also of reconciliation, renewal and doctrinal development.
He had already explained at his previous conference in the Iéna Hall on May 13 why the task of the Counter-Reformation formed but the prelude to the Catholic Church’s work of renaissance and magnificence in the world of tomorrow.
“ This Council will, in the words of Jeremiah, be ‘ set over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow ’, but even more to ‘ build and to plant ’ (Jer 1.10). First of all, in order to pay off the liabilities, must come the antidote of the Counter-Reformation. And then, in the same movement, we will see – untrammelled, freed and restored – the true ‘ resources ’ of the Church and her powerful resurgence before an astonished and admiring world.
“ There are certainly some excellent things in the Acts of Vatican II. Generally, the content is deadly dull, like an insipid cup of tea. There are several more edifying sections, which act like sugar to help us swallow the rest. As for the remainder, here and there we find traces of diluted arsenic, say three cubic centimetres per litre, consisting of discreetly phrased but pernicious errors, just enough to pass unnoticed and to kill. The Conciliar Church perceived none of this due to the progressive and massive intoxication of which she was a victim. Now she is dying from it. The spirit of the Council, the orientations of the Council, are simply a series of slogans, vague or absurd ideas couched under brief, striking and precise-sounding terms, which impress themselves on the collective consciousness and hold it in a state of alienation.
“ To be against the Reform today is to reopen the way to the constructive and positive task of restoring the Church and expanding the Catholic missions. Removens prohibens, removing the obstacle, as the scholastics say : the bulldozer which clears the road by pushing aside the river of mud performs a useful task, positively positive ! ”26
“ I must insist ”, he said on October 14 at the Mutualité. “ For us to succeed, we must not be tempted into seeking superficial short-term successes. We see too many people in the Church reacting against the effects of the disorder while sparing its causes. We must make a great effort to go back to beyond the point at which the wrong turning was taken, and this point is Vatican II. ”27 The image is evocative : the Council had taken the Church down the wrong path, so it was necessary to return to the turning point from where the Reform had set out.
“ Does this mean that we are advocating simply going back in the opposite direction ? No. It means picking up the right path at the 1962 turning point, yes, but only in order to forge ahead and make up for lost time. The questions debated today are new, at least in part, and they force us to resolve difficulties that our forefathers knew nothing about. Our Catholicism, therefore, has some theological and institutional progress to make ; in this way it will discover its true character for the twentieth century, one that is in continuity with the periods and generations of the past. We have no desire to ‘ return ’ to Vatican I, nor to the Council of Trent, nor to that of Nicea ! We want Vatican III to clarify Vatican II and to isolate and eliminate its poison. We want Vatican III to save Tradition and the majority of the traditions which have stood the Church in good stead throughout the centuries. But, in doing this, it will mark a development and will define the forms of today’s Catholicism. The Church will escape from this terrible trial, as always, even stronger and more beautiful, more holy and more victorious than ever. ”28
FR. Georges de Nantes on the platform at the Mutualité on October 14, 1971. His conference inaugurated the studies carried out by the League of the CRC in preparation for Vatican III.
“ I first launched the idea of a Vatican III back in 1964. It was not some scatterbrained notion, but the natural conclusion of the age-old logic of the Church. Others then took it up braggingly, like Cardinal Suenens and Father Congar, as though it would prove to be their final victory, consolidating the conquests of Vatican II. The CRC takes up the challenge. If they want a Vatican III, well, let them come on then ; they will be pulverised. Not by us, non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam. Glory will only return when the power of God acts in His Church – with or without us, it matters little. But it will be the most beautiful of miracles when God saves His Church acting through the very Church herself. ”
Georges de Nantes,
October 14, 1971
A PROGRAM IN ELEVEN CHAPTERS
Fr. de Nantes based the organisation of his preparatory studies for Vatican III on the programme used by Vatican II which “ acting on the suggestion of Cardinals Suenens and Montini, carried out its work of reform in two stages. The first stage was to renew the Church ad intra, in herself, in her faith, her institutions and her own life, and the second ad extra, in her relations with others, in her openness to the world and her involvement with temporal realities. ”29
In its first stage, Vatican III would define the Christian religion and the Catholic Church “ in terms of their transcendent truth, their divine institution and supernatural life ”.
This Council will constitute “ in the first place an affirmation of the Church, because the Church has been reviled, disparaged and derided by the men of the Church themselves over these last ten years of Reform. An affirmation of the Church as the Spouse of Christ, a faithful, wise and loving Spouse, who to our dazzled eyes reflects, as does no other, the splendour of the countenance – both human and divine – of Jesus Christ. Yes, an affirmation of the Church as the bearer of the Gospel, for modern impostors profane the meaning of the Gospel and use it as their rallying cry, accusing the Church of having betrayed, falsified and corrupted it.
“ Our marvellous Third Vatican Council will begin by declaring its solidarity with all the Councils and Popes of the past who presented clear and indisputable teaching. And woe to anyone, be he Pope, bishop or priest, who would treat this solemn commitment lightly ! Having thus identified itself with this indivisible Magisterium, the Council will declare the Magisterium’s accord with Tradition and Tradition’s accord with Sacred Scripture, thereby preventing people from appealing to one at the expense of the other. In this way everything will be restored in its principles. ‘ He who sees me ’, this Church will say, ‘ sees Christ, and he who sees the Son sees the Father ! ’ No sooner will this identity be affirmed than unity will be restored between the living and the dead, between the present generation and all generations who have gone before us, back even to Christ, back even to God ! Here Christians will find the basis of their reconciliation and the correct response to every reform.
“ This will have to be the subject matter of the first session which will consist of six chapters : the sources of the faith, the mystery of the Church, the sacred liturgy, the priestly hierarchy, the faithful, and the Catholic missions. ”30
“ Thus restored, renewed and revitalised in God’s grace and truth, the Church will proclaim her supernatural designs for man, the world and history. In fact, her whole religious system would lose much of its redemptive power if it were not extended in flesh and blood with a view to espousing every aspect of our humanity and restoring its dignity31. It is in this second session that the infallible judgements of the Magisterium of Vatican III will take on a particular severity. Its definitions will become the antidote to the denials and apostasy that have been unleashed in the Church. ”32
To deal in details with this second part involving the Church’s relations with the world, the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation proposed to divide it into five chapters : Christian liberty, Catholic ecumenism, the salvation of the human race, Christian humanism, and the perfection of love.
Although Fr. de Nantes had started on a systematic preparation for Vatican III that October 1971, he had not the slightest idea of forming himself and his League of the Counter-Reformation into a popular Council. “ We will leave this ridiculous conceit ”, he said, “ to the Dutch or to the Lutheran monks at Taizé and their cohorts of young decerebrated Catholics. A Council is a hierarchical assembly summoned and directed by the Pope in order to make sovereign and infallible judgements on matters by virtue of the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It is our job simply to prepare our questions for it… ”33 Fr. de Nantes was determined to study, or at least to refer to, the numerous dogmatic and disciplinary problems that this Council would have to confront. He wished to seek out and propose solutions that would resolve many new difficulties. In short, he was undertaking a colossal labour. Such a task, he specified, “ cannot be the work of just one man nor even of a single community like ours ; our only intention is to mark out one possible route ”34.
From December 1971, each of the planned chapters will appear on a monthly basis. They all begin with a short one-page preparatory schema ; this is then developed in the form of a conference recorded35 at Maison Saint Joseph and listened to by the circles of the League ; and finally the magisterial study is published in the monthly bulletin36. Each of these eleven studies, divided into three or four parts, will generally contain a reminder of the classical doctrine along with a presentation of its subversion by the new postconciliar religion ; then the Acts of Vatican II are analysed, along with an historical survey of their elaboration and a critical examination of the texts finally promulgated ; and finally the doctrine and anathemas of Vatican III are set out.
ALL VATICAN II’S HERESIES EXPOSED
Ever since the Council closed in 1965, Fr. de Nantes had planned to analyse all the Acts of Vatican II in an in-depth manner. In his Letter of December 11 that year, he had told his friends that he would soon be undertaking “ a review of the Council. I hope to show the constant duality of interpretation invited by the published texts, one restrictive and orthodox, the other modernist and contrary to Tradition. ”37 But his conflict with Msgr. Couëdic and the terms of the act of reconciliation on December 29, 196538 made him put this considerable task off till later.
During those years 1971-1972, he will accomplish it on one hand by studying the “ Documents conciliaires ” published by Centurion, where the French text of the Acts of Vatican II was accompanied by tendentious introductions written by leading figures of the conciliar majority. And on the other hand by making use of the twenty or so volumes on Vatican II that appeared in the collection Unam sanctam published by Cerf. “ Both the Latin and French text of the Acts, enormous articles drawn up by the conspirators themselves, revealing their intentions, their handiwork, their intrigues and their success. ”39 The study of these articles was indispensable for discerning the carefully concealed intentions of those who wrote the Acts of the Council and for discovering “ all the principles – shrouded, certainly ! – of a dogmatic upheaval which was without precedent in the Church but which was comparable in every respect to the Lutheran heresy ”39.
What is remarkable is that his analysis of this mass of documents would not lead him to depart from the judgements he had made on the Acts of Vatican II in 1964-1965 before the Council had even finished. His new studies would confirm the value and the justice of his previous demonstrations and conclusions. The texts promulgated would appear to him to have been “ deliberately conceived to introduce and suggest the novelty upheld by the conciliar ‘ majority ’ despite the criticisms and disclaimers of the ‘ minority ’ ”40.
And so, the arduous study carried out by Fr. de Nantes in 1971-1972 would allow him to expose and denounce, in each of the Acts of Vatican II, the germs of heresy and revolution at the very least. Furthermore, his penetrating analyses cast floods of light on the postconciliar subversion, namely “ the exploitation of the Acts of Vatican II by the reformist party who, having inspired and dressed them up for the benefit of the Fathers, had then taken them up again so that they could exploit all the poison that lay hidden in them ”41.
The theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation formulated draft anathemas condemning not only heretical propositions but also the heresiarchs themselves. Let us quote a passage from the conclusion of the chapter that deals with “ Catholic Ecumenism” :
“ With the same firmness that it will demonstrate in its fundamental charter on Christian Liberty (schema 7, CRC no 57), Vatican III will have to solemnly abjure the plans for Protestant Ecumenism so unthinkingly adopted by the Council Fathers at Vatican II. To declare Religious Liberty a Right of man, is to put man in the place of God. To seek Christian Unity in an egalitarian reconciliation of different communities and sects, is to prefer an interconfessional society manufactured by man to the Church of Christ constituted and maintained by God. This very principle and the aberrant pastoral strategy that derives from it must be anathematised.
“ The principle : the Catholic Church is going to search for unity with the Others. Whereas she and she alone, by virtue of God’s grace, is that Unity which the Others must rediscover in order that they may revive by entering her or returning to her ! The consequences : the general abandonment of dogma and a deceitful recognition of the profound ‘ values ’ found in schism and heresy, as well as sacrilegious transgressions against the discipline of the sacraments and the destruction of Catholic morality and mysticism… all in the interests of joining the so-called ‘ reformed Churches ’ in their decadence.
“ Fr. Congar’s book Christians in Disunity (1937), sanctioned by Pius XII, lies at the origin of this pestilential error. So it is this book and its stubborn author that Vatican III will have to condemn. Another book, which casts light on the whole debate in advance, could serve the Fathers of Vatican III as a guide to orthodoxy. It is Cardinal Journet’s Union of the Churches (1927). What do you know ! everything he criticises in the tedious protestant discussions at the Congress of Stockholm in 1925 is what Vatican II will commend and copy word for word. The doctrine he uses to oppose this could be taken up by Vatican III, along with many wonderful developments. ”42
A POSITIVE WORK :
PROPOSITIONS FOR A RENEWAL
In each of his eleven chapters, Fr. de Nantes took a detailed look at the doctrinal developments that Vatican III might accomplish.
“ It will not do to say : Let us return to the schemas prepared by the preconciliar Commissions. Without a doubt they were free of the errors that were later added or put in their place, but they failed to give an explicit answer to these errors or even to see them coming. They provide precious, indeed privileged, testimony to the true Catholic faith on the eve of the Reform. But the proof of their insufficiency is that they were unable on their own to defend either themselves or their authors from modern error. Once the true Catholic path has been regained, Vatican III will have to work at a new dogmatic exposition, one that is far more explicit. It will need to deduce truths that are more precise and to formulate a series of anathemas that will remove all equivocation and exclude, in an irreformable and definitive manner, the errors which imperil the faith. The providential meaning of this trial will then be understood : it will be the final victory over the hydra of the first Lutheran Reform (1517) and that of the second Modernist Reform (1907). ”43
In making his suggestions for a development of dogma and devising schemes for a new pastoral theology with an often astonishing boldness, Fr. de Nantes brimmed over with enthusiasm, because history shows that “ after a period of decadence or schism, the Church has always experienced a restoration which recovers and continues with even greater success her age-old development. For the Holy Spirit of God dwells within her and her members are sanctified by the sacraments of her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, her Priest. ”
Fr. de Nantes directed his readers’ minds towards a vast and impressive restoration in which the liturgical tradition would be restored to a position of honour and revitalised by a body of pastoral reforms corresponding to the “ holy inspirations of profoundly religious men ” :
“ A great number of reforms may be salutary and fruitful, but they must first be studied with great care, including those elements that cause concern, before being promulgated with precision and implemented prudently. For example, the introduction of the vernacular, provided it does not seek to replace Latin but to lead the faithful to a better understanding and appreciation of it. In our community I have instituted since 1958 what I call ‘ pedagogic bilingualism ’, and I believe this is the formula of the future…
“ What is needed is a generous heart, a mind freed from any narrowness and any a priori other than the faith. Each question deserves to be examined in its own right, free from any kind of systematic conservatism or blind reformism. Both of these are lazy and cowardly solutions that simply involve following the crowd. Progressive traditionalism consists in conserving and enriching liturgical life by exercising one’s devotion, intelligence, imagination and zeal. ”44
We are not able here to present all the propositions for renewal formulated by Fr. de Nantes in his eleven chapters, nor even to give a brief overview of them. Clearly one needs to read the integral text of his magisterial studies which have been gathered together in volume four of the Contre-Réforme catholique au vingtième siècle [much of which can be found, albeit in a paraphrased translation, in the 1971 and 1972 volumes of the English edition].
A CONSIDERABLE DOCTRINAL LABOUR
It is difficult to form a just appreciation of the work accomplished by Fr. de Nantes in those years 1971-1972. When he had finished it, he will confide to his friends : “ I had been so afraid of not being able to sustain the momentum or of being brought to a standstill by some insurmountable difficulty – and of course the task was overwhelming – that like ‘ unprofitable servants ’ in the evening after a long hard day we addressed a hymn of thanksgiving to Christ the King on that October 28, 1972 ! ”45 The task that he had completed was incredible. What an undertaking ! “ I had the impression, he will say, of moving mountains, of shifting truck loads of rubble and rocks, between Vatican II which is defunct and Vatican III which has still to be built. ”46 Our Father had closely examined and analysed all the Acts of Vatican II, its seventeen constitutions, decrees and declarations, sifting them in the sieve of the Catholic faith, rejecting the slag but preserving the freestones for Vatican III. He had scoured the enormous commentaries on the Acts of Vatican II published in the collection Unam sanctam, and this considerable labour had allowed him to reveal the treacherous intentions of those who had drawn up the conciliar texts. Now, the monthly publication of each of his eleven chapters never met with any refutation. Not one of the incriminated reformist theologians expressed the least protest or even attempted to to challenge the demonstrations of the theologian of the Counter-Reformation in the 20th century. The innovators carefully avoided engaging in any controversy. Fr. de Nantes had defeated and confounded them.
What is more, this vigorous critique of the Acts of Vatican II became the point of departure for a positive work. Against the Reform of the Council and of Paul VI Fr. de Nantes had opposed a powerful project of global counter-revolution, one that was doctrinal, pastoral, liturgical and social. He had thus prepared the dogmatic agenda of Vatican III by proposing new solutions, although they were ones inspired by tradition. As Jacques Mourot will so aptly put it, “ none of those who followed the labours of the CRC will be able to say that we are wearing ourselves out in sterile grumbling or in vain regrets for a past that is completely over ”47. The CRC is “ the only movement of theological hope, founded on God, that calls for an undertaking proportionate to the evil ”48.
On re-reading these eleven chapters collected in the fourth volume of the Contre-Réforme catholique, I began to understand the reason for the enthusiasm of Fr. Robert Mottier, the curate, in Paris, of the parish of Saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts. He had been following the labours of the CRC with the greatest attention at that time and, in December 1972, he invited me to follow him to the Mutualité, saying : “ Come and listen to Fr. de Nantes ! He is the greatest theologian of our age. ”49 Certainly, in accomplishing this doctrinal work in preparation for the Acts of Vatican III, Fr. de Nantes had shown that he was the greatest theologian of our time. It is not by chance that the readership of the monthly Contre-Reforme catholique steadily increased at this period. In June 1972, the “ month of exams and of holiday departures ”, the CRC registered “ a thousand new subscribers ”50.
Besides this considerable doctrinal activity, Fr. de Nantes and his brothers hosted numerous public meetings organised by the League throughout much of France. This campaign began in May 1971. “ It was at Ajaccio ”, our Father will recount, “ in a beautiful room in the Hotel Continental that I presented this conference for the first time : ‘ Preparing for Vatican III ’. The bishop, Msgr. Collini, had warned me : ‘ You will have priests who disagree with you and who will tell you so. I prefer them to do this rather than take no part at all. ’ Happy surprise, this group of Corsican priests gave us the opportunity for an impassioned and fruitful debate. We were not so far from one another in our views and we already agreed about the wisdom of holding a Council of Ajaccio I ! I am sure we would have the majority of them behind us. ”51
At Nice there was a warm welcome by the leader of the circle, Mr. Robert Médecin, a cousin of the mayor. And the conference was a success. “ The idea of a Council that would decisively restore the faith, the institutions and thus the charity and unity of the Church, was greeted with enthusiasm. At the end a young man came up to me : ‘ Father, I was with you at the camp at Mans in 1963. I was a Protestant. Since then I have been reading you and, thanks to this reading, I am now a Catholic and very happy about to be so. ’ And we also ! What a promising sign…
“ During this time, Msgr. Etchegaray, the new archbishop of Marseilles and the man most likely amongst our bishops to ascend rapidly to the highest summits of the Church, took part in the monthly meeting of our Circle. He listened to the recording of the conference I gave at Saint-Etienne ‘ Where is the Church going ? ’ and stated that he could not agree with my criticisms of the Council and the Pope52 and would speak to me about it on another occasion. ”53
A SECTARIAN EPISCOPATE
“ I knew ”, our Father will point out in December 1971, “ from what several bishops had stated to our friends who had gone to visit them, that there would be a question mark over us that year at Lourdes and that there would be a general policy of repression against us ; in the previous year our Lord Bishops had not been able to agree on this. I therefore expected to see a new warning issued against us, the seventh in seven years. Given that the Holy Office with all its science has been unable to catch me out over even a single comma, I am quite at peace as regards our orthodoxy. ”
Whereupon “ the seventh despatch to the persecuted Church regarding us ” was published54. The press printed it on November 21.
Let us quote in full this warning from the Permanent Council of the French episcopate.
“ For some time now, whether in tracts, sometimes distributed directly to the door, or in pages periodically sent through the post, or in journals and publications and even press conferences, accusations have been made against priests, bishops and even the whole French episcopate. The Holy Father himself has not been spared. In addition to the objections raised against the pastoral methods for which we are responsible, there is now raised the question of our honour and sometimes even of our faith. Odious insinuations, for which not the slightest proof is offered, seek to disturb the trust of the faithful in their pastors.
“ Up till now we have preferred to keep silent, hoping that these unjustified attacks would diminish. But today we believe the time has come for us to publicly denounce these calumnies. As much as we would like to welcome loyal and constructive criticism, we cannot but reject a suspicion that, through our persons, attacks the honour of the People of God and the priests who are in its service. We wish to affirm the communion and the solidarity which unites us to each other as well as to the Head of the Church, the sign and guarantee of unity. ”55
“ What is bizarre ”, Fr. de Nantes will remark after the publication of this communiqué and the various declarations of the bishops and representatives met at Lourdes, is that the Permanent Council does not name anyone. Next, basing his reasoning on an ‘ interminable list ’, Cardinal Gouyon lets slip a name, and one only, that of ‘ pope ’ Clement XV who had written an unworthy tract which was then being handed around at Lourdes. Whereupon the episcopal Secretary for Public Opinion identifies – as his own personal opinion ! – Salleron, Fr. de Nantes, Madiran and Debray, only to declare afterwards to the latter that no, he did not name him and he is not involved. It is all quite incredible for a communiqué that deals exclusively with ‘ unjustified attacks ’, ‘ calumnies ’ and ‘ odious insinuations ’ ! ! !
“ I have no need to protest my respect for our bishops and I do not intend to pour my heart out on their clerical suits. My reply is simple : I do not insinuate, I accuse. I do not calumniate, I state the facts and I bring my proofs. For example, on page 9 of this very edition, I accuse the Bishop of Orleans of having incurred excommunication latae sententiae for events which I cite, events which are unquestionable, public and manifest56. It is for him to reply in a manner which is just as direct : this is what I want. But as for these tittle-tattle communiqués, where no one knows who the complaint is directed against and for what… no, it is all too contemptible ! So we make an invitation to any bishop who feels he has the courage to come to our dinner-debate at Lutetia on February 3. There he will find a discerning and passionately interested public. There he will be able to uphold the defamatory accusations that have been released to the four winds against us. ”57
Alas, not one bishop will dare to confront the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in a public joust. The reformist prelates will refuse an honest discussion, but they will persecute the opponent of their Reform by forbidding him to say the Mass of Saint Pius V. This is what happened during his conference tour in Languedoc. “ Having arrived at Montpellier, the sacristan of the chapel of the Blue Penitents where I was to say holy Mass would not let us proceed because of the orders of his superiors, orders that were neither in writing nor particularly precise. This was the first time this had happened to him for the forty years that he had been a sacristan, and to me for the twenty-three years that I had been a priest. Confident of my rights, I went elsewhere to celebrate the old Roman Mass without encumbrance and as openly as I always did. But it was distressing !
“ A communiqué from the Bishop’s House appeared in the press : ‘ The Bishop’s House is bound to recall that certain public and repeated declarations of Fr. de Nantes are in formal contradiction with the Catholic faith, and constitute a lack of respect towards Pope Paul VI and the episcopal college and a false interpretation of both the spirit and the texts of Vatican II ’. It went on to quote Msgr. Fauchet. Therefore, for my part, I am bound to recall that I promised the latter five million francs if he could prove my alleged errors. The same promise was made to the bishop of of Montpellier if he could establish the formal contradiction he accused me of between my declarations and the Catholic faith. In the country of Cardonnel, it is quite something to be persecuted for the faith ! ! ”57
In March 1972, Fr. de Nantes returns to Corsica. On the morning of his arrival, the bishop of Ajaccio pronounces a beautiful sermon on the mercy one should show everyone, even our enemies, for “ every man is my brother ”… Now, in his hosts ’ parish, Fr. de Nantes learns of the episcopal directives : permission to celebrate Mass, in Latin, if one wishes, but it must be in the new rite. It is forbidden to follow the ancient ordo. Any parish priest in Ajaccio who should infringe this order would be punished by losing his office.
“ I explain to the priest ”, Fr. de Nantes will recount, “ that I have expressed serious criticisms against the new ordo and that I experience grave objections of conscience about celebrating this rite. I do not judge those who have accepted it in obedience ; they follow their own conscience. I have the right to follow my own duly formed conscience, and I am certain that by holding to the Mass of all time that I am not saying or doing anything that is not perfect and holy. Consequently, no, I will not celebrate the new Mass as Msgr. Collini demands. Since this quite extravagant abuse of power means that all the churches on the island are closed to me, I find myself obliged to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice elsewhere. I therefore asked the parish priest to take note of my objection and to inform the bishop of my resolution to celebrate holy Mass in private with the utmost propriety, which I did in all serenity and spiritual joy on the following day. ”58
The “ disciplinary totalitarianism ” of the French bishops and their “ disturbing ideological sectarianism ”59 towards traditionalists had a profound cause which Fr. de Nantes took pains to bring to light in his editorial for April 1972, entitled “ A sectarian episcopate ”.
Our Father first noted the character of the French bishops’ reaction to the flood of modernism and progressivism. “ It is uncoordinated, it is full of holes, it strikes at random and it does not follow its movement through to the end. It is like an organism which has lost its head and whose reactions are merely peripheral.
“ It is partisan, warped by an a priori that is concealed but wholly transparent. The men of the Church react bad-temperedly against any criticism emanating from traditionalism, as people who are irritated and rendered unjust, furious and spiteful by their irritation. On the other hand, they react feebly to any attack brought not against their persons, their ideas or their pastoral methods, but against God, against Jesus Christ and against the Church, whom they represent and whom it is their first duty to serve.
“ There is something very human in this. Msgr. N will be more sensitive to certain lines drawing the world’s attention to one of his errors or failings than to a catechism spread in his diocese depicting Christ as a man of superior nature like Martin Luther King. The insult to Christ is forgotten, but the insult to Monsignor remains a sore point. But, on a more profound level, the collective reaction of the episcopate to any criticism formulated against its pastoral government, even though such criticism is intensified by the resentment of so many angry people, is inspired by an idée fixe and an invincible determination : the idea that the present reform of the Church is of divine inspiration60, and the determination to tolerate nothing that brings it into question. This secret understanding is invincible : Outside of Vatican II there is no salvation ! Unity cannot exist except unless centred on Paul VI Montini and on the programme of Vatican II. Thus any criticism levelled against the men of the Church appears to them as an insult to God. But not vice versa ! For this reason they consider all their new ideas to be divine inspirations.
“ It is an immense confusion of mind, but it is sincere. The proof of this can be seen in the fact that these same bishops are extremely hesitant, weak and helpless before the subversion of the progressives and modernists who have joined forces in the idealist reduction of our dogmas and the spreading of anarchy in our parishes. They deplore this, they express astonishment, but they do not strike back, they take no sanctions, they never avenge the outraged God as they would avenge and defend themselves if they were the object of some taunt. This is because this whole great enterprise – united, pluralist and convergent – to renew the faith and the Christian life pursues its work of demolition in the name of the aggiornamento and in sworn, affirmed and lived fidelity to the sacrosanct and inviolable Council, and to the Pope who remains its sponsor.
“ That is why our Catholic Counter-Reformation does not attack the men of the Church and almost apologises for grazing them in passing. The CRC attacks the idea of the permanent Reform which holds the men of the Chuch alienated, enslaved and stuck fast like weather cocks jammed against a beam in the roof. ”61
MSGR. MATAGRIN WITHDRAWS FR. DE NANTES’ CELEBRET
At the beginning of the year 1972, yielding to the pressure brought to bear by certain of his colleagues, Msgr. Matagrin refused to renew Fr. de Nantes’ celebret62, which is, if one may so, the priest’s identity card63. The bishop of Grenoble wrote to him on February 18 :
I ask your pardon for my delay in replying to you. I was keen to acquaint myself first with a certain number of your letters in the “ Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 20th century ”.
When I read, in the circular no 38 of November 1970, that you accuse Pope Paul VI of heresy, apostasy, simony and perjury, I am not absolutely sure what significance it might hold for you to receive a celebret issued by a bishop who wishes to be in full communion of thought, prayer and action with the Sovereign Pontiff, and who must himself in your eyes be a heretic, an apostate and a perjurer…
Moreover I regret that you have used the celebret which I had sent you to oppose a certain number of my brothers in the episcopate.
You will find attached the only accreditation and the only authorisation that I feel able to send you.
I regret that I cannot act otherwise in your regard and I assure you of my sentiments of devotion.
Fr. de Nantes was on a conference tour when he learned of this reply from Msgr. Matagrin. He will inform the brothers at Maison Saint-Joseph of the bad news in a letter dated February 22 :
“ The bad news of the day : a letter from Msgr. Matagrin refusing the celebret but giving me a paper authorising me to celebrate holy Mass in the diocese, and elsewhere at the discretion of the local bishop… This is irksome and suppresses the power of confession. There remains the power of celebrating without asking for anything, on condition that I am not asked for anything… The net is tightening ; we must pass through trials : per crucem ad lucem. ”64
The headed notepaper of Msgr. Matagrin, along with his letter of February 18, was a document proving that Fr. de Nantes had been incardinated in the diocese of Grenoble. The bishop therefore authorised him to say Mass in his diocese ; but elsewhere he was to conform to the decisions of the local bishop.
“ Taking this document at its face value ”, Fr. de Nantes will point out, “ I was to consider myself as still being ‘ worthy to celebrate holy Mass ’ but deprived of the right of jurisdiction and in particular of hearing confessions, since there was no mention of this. From that day I stopped making use of this right, since I thought that I no longer possessed it. ”65
In order not to exacerbate the passions of the traditionalists against the French bishops, nor to distract the League from the only labour which he judged crucial and of Catholic significance, Fr. de Nantes will not raise any public protest against this iniquity. He will defend neither his honour nor those of his rights that were most dear to him, in order to continue and develop at whatever cost his combat against the errors of Vatican II and, simultaneously, his preparation for Vatican III. This, he thought, was his priestly duty and his particular vocation in the service of the Church.
Nevertheless, he asked for an audience with Msgr. Matagrin. The latter replied to him eventually on April 13 :
I do not see what good could come of an interview. I know what you think : you explain yourself at length in your bulletin. You know what I think : I continue to take my stand on the teaching and pastoral directions of Vatican II and on Pope Paul VI.
I would be unfaithful to the position I have adopted in your regard if I were to refuse to receive you. If you persist in your desire for an interview, I could receive you on Thursday April 20 at 6pm.
I assure you of my sentiments of devotion.
Fr. de Nantes will give an account of this interview on April 20, 1972 in a private letter which he will write a few years later to Msgr. Matagrin himself. Let us listen to him :
“ I recall having first made you an act of submission, and since you doubted its sincerity, I made it clear that I was truly submitted to my bishop in everything relating to the work of our salvation and the good of the Church, even though I was strongly opposed to the Reformer of the Church and the Innovator to whom no divine precept required my subjection. The conversation reached the point where I said to you : ‘ Monseigneur, if you are on that side of the office and I on this, it is because your party won out over mine at the Council. But if I were in your place, I assure you that I would not treat any priest as you are treating me. ’ You asked me what bad treatment I was complaining about. I reminded you of this nasty piece of paper which could never take the place of the Celebret in my eyes and which put me through agony every time I presented myself in a church to say Mass. And then there was the loss of the power to dispense the sacraments, so painful for a priest : for example, on the day before, while visiting my family, I had not been able to hear the confession of such and such a person who had asked me to do so… Monseigneur, at that moment you wept, you had pity on me and you said to me with a kindness that I cannot forget :
– But I had no intention of depriving you of the power of hearing confessions !
– Monseigneur, your paper made no mention of it and I conformed myself strictly to its text.
– But surely you hear confessions at Saint-Parres ?
“ This time it was my turn to be surprised. Did you really think that I was hearing confessions in this diocese of Troyes where I was suspens ! and that I was thus multiplying the number of invalid absolutions ? I answered you faithfully that I had stopped hearing confessions in Troyes from the day my suspension came into effect. You then told me that I had always had this right, whatever the case, to hear confessions in your diocese, even if the paper made no mention of it, that you had never taken these powers away from me and that you had not even thought of doing go : ‘ If you return to Chônas this evening, you must certainly hear the confessions of your whole family ! ’ Then you spoke to me about the pastoral necessity of expressing the evangelical message in other cultures than our own and we parted cordially after you had given me your blessing. ”66
Two years later, in an editorial of the Counter-Reformation expounding the reasons for his opposition to the integrist schism, Fr. de Nantes will indicate in a note : “ As a member of the diocese of Grenoble, I hold from my bishop, Msgr. Matagrin, the ordinary powers of order and jurisdiction. ”67 Now, a few days after this article was published, Msgr. Matagrin will write him the following letter :
August 23, 1974
On February 17, 1972 I gave you a document showing that you are incardinated in the diocese of Grenoble and authorising you to say Mass when you visit the diocese.
This was not a celebret, even less a delegation of the ordinary powers of order and jurisdiction as you claim in a note in your bulletin no 83 of August 1974.
The bonds of communion which unite me filially to the Holy Father do not permit me to grant you the celebret you request of me, given the attitude you have adopted in his regard. It seems to me that you should write directly to the Holy See,
I assure you of my ever fraternal sentiments, although I am profoundly saddened by your attitude towards the Holy Father and the Bishops of France.
Fr. de Nantes will reply to him on September 1, 1974 :
“ Jesus !
“ It is with the liveliest emotion that I learned of your letter of August 23. Permit me to tell you of my distress and my surprise. I am unable to remain in uncertainties which others might describe as lies and I wish to remind you of the facts such as I perceive them.
“ On October 8, 1970 I received a Celebret from you declaring me ‘ worthy to say holy Mass and to administer the sacraments including the hearing of confessions ’. You had however added this note in the margin : ‘ ad nutum tamen uniuscujusque Ordinarii, at the discretion however of each Ordinary ’, which is perfectly explained by the fact that the suspension fulminated against me by Msgr. Le Couëdic, the Bishop of Troyes, on August 25, 1966, had been extended by his successor, Msgr. Fauchet. But it is clear that you recognised me as worthy of exercising my priestly powers in October 1970, when for the previous five years I had been accusing the Pope personally and the bishops collectively of heretical ideas and schismatic or scandalous behaviour, when I continued to reject the Acts of the Council as tainted with unacceptable novelties, and when I had made use of all these accusations and criticisms to initiate a trial in the court of Rome. You granted me this Celebret in full knowledge of the question and I made public reference to it by way of replying to my detractors : my Bishop recognised me as worthy to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to distribute the sacraments. I was not, therefore, in your judgement an unworthy and bad priest, an excommunicate. The fact was well-known and public…
“ When the time came for this Celebret to be renewed, after having failed to answer several of my requests, you finally sent me on February 17 a piece of personally headed notepaper authorising me to celebrate Mass in the diocese. ”
Fr. de Nantes then referred to the meeting which took place on April 20, 197268, and he continued :
“ Trusting in these expressions, I considered that I held from you the liberty to exercise my power of order and the right to exercise the power of jurisdiction under which mainly falls the administration of the sacrament of penance. Today, you write to me that your ‘ attestation ’ is not equivalent to a ‘ Celebret ’. So I merit the attestation but have no right to the Celebret ? But, Monseigneur, the difference of paper is incidental ; as regards the essential, either certificate comprises the official recognition of the right to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice and to hear confessions given to a priest who appears worthy of such. I hold this right from you yourself, my proper Bishop. You have not withdrawn it from me. I therefore retain it. Such rights do not simply evaporate ! Unless of course I should see myself deprived of them by a canonical sanction for some new criminal deed that would make me unworthy of them…
“ But the other day, having picked up one of my godsons who was hitchhiking, you told him that the relations between you and me were good. You explained and almost excused my behaviour by my excessive attachment, to use your words, to the traditions of the past and my failure to understand the advantages of the change. I believe the debate is infinitely more serious ; but in the end your grievances came down to the realm of free opinions. This recent event shows again that the powers you gave me were never withdrawn by you, no more than by your predecessor, Msgr. Fougerat, even though I was and continue to be suspended in the diocese of Troyes. ‘ Est, est ’. The Celebret is but the attestation on official paper of this authorisation which I possess. I therefore have a right to it !
“ However, I understand the difficulty in which I have placed you, much against my will. You recently declared to a journalist from the Monde that you had never condemned or sanctioned anyone. This liberalism does not usually require great courage. On the other hand, in my particular case, you need such courage. Your goodness and your liberalism are united in recognising that I am sufficiently worthy and orthodox to celebrate and distribute the sacraments. But you would prefer that I was unable to take public advantage of this, particularly before your colleagues in the episcopate and other important people who reproach you for it and who would rather that you take on the responsibility of condemning me. For all these highly placed people, being unable to discuss what I say, would prefer to discuss my person ; and already they are saying that I am banned, nay excommunicated, or at any rate deprived by you of my Celebret. They would like to be able to disparage me on the more solid basis of a genuine sanction for which they leave you with the responsibility. So your are solicited by two conflicting voices : on one hand to openly have the courage of your goodness and to follow the logic of your liberalism, and on the other hand to display the injustice and incoherence of cowardice. ”
Let us halt our reading of this letter at this point69. Do not these few remarks of our Father sufficiently reveal the iniquity of which he was the victim ?
Let us rather admire his moderation and his real wisdom when, in this year of 1972, Msgr. Matagrin withdrew his celebret. He did not attempt any appeal to public opinion, nor did he think of feeling sorry for himself or rebelling. Only the very well-informed reader might have detected a discreet allusion to the injustice which he had suffered, on reading the chronicle of the League for May 1972 : “ Let us continue to preach our via media : In the service of the Church against her reform. It is for our bishops to find a way of accommodating this attitude dictated to us by our well-formed conscience as faithful Roman Catholics. Our position is public and candid. May their attitude towards us be the same. This is what we everywhere and earnestly ask of them. ”70
Fr. de Nantes displayed this restraint and discretion even though he had no illusions about the intrigues and motives of the bishops who were harassing him in order to attack and destroy his League without first having to judge the dogmatic accusations which he had brought against them. The reformist prelates refused to exercise their sovereign magisterium, but they were willing to use underhand smear campaigns to try and reduce the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to a position of powerlessness.
Nevertheless, in that year of 1972, the League continued to grow thanks to the immense theological labour of its leader and founder. Certainly, the success of the campaign “ Tomorrow, Vatican III ” “ was out of proportion with the necessities of the hour ”71. But at each stage of his conference tours our Father had the consolation of meeting new and fervent friends, devoted members of the League or assiduous readers of the CRC.
“ What pleases me most in our friends ”, he will confide, “ is this combination of a doctrine which is as hard and clear as a diamond and a conduct which is gentle, accommodating and tolerant. ”72
“ What refreshes my heart ”, he will say on another occasion, “ is to arrive at some place and to find good friends there or better still a whole family or even – which is quite marvellous – several families, all of whom bring to our combat of the Counter-Reformation a genuine faith accompanied by Catholic charity and piety. Those who are restless, the activists, disturb and even frighten me. They do not have within them the doctrinal moderation needed to retain them in wisdom and true service. The excessively pious who are too inclined to accept everything or to retire from everything, these I do not even see, for they avoid us. But as for our true friends…
“ If, on returning from a tour, I decide to continue this fraternal ministry, it is through the hope that these friends have given me, veritable disciples, who have found in the CRC at one and the same time their spiritual life, their apostolate and their combat. It satisfies their hearts. And what is so rare and precious is that they have the goodness to tell us that their perseverance depends to some extent on ours. Thus, we continue our labour. ”73
THE DISDAIN OF THE INTEGRISTS
Rare were the integrists who, like Fr. Robert Mottier74, recognised the value of the work accomplished by the theologian of the Counter-Reformation in those years 1971-1972. They generally made out that they could not see the benefit or the usefulness of this doctrinal preparation for Vatican III.
“ I met with the disdain of my former brothers in arms ”, remarked Fr. de Nantes. “ They openly scoffed at ‘ my ’ Vatican III and were absolutely contemptuous of this work of criticism, the first and only to appear on the subject of Vatican II, Paul VI and these ten years of the Magisterium’s breakdown. It is is true that I rarely flatter the sensibilities, the sense of exasperation and the reactionary naivety of this public integrist who feels he is perfect in his truth – and of course he has the truth ! with his true Mass, and it is all very good ! – and in his fine principles – and they are of course excellent ! But he does not wish to make any intellectual effort, nor to make himself known outside his own closed group where all think the same way, nor to remain in contact and fraternal communion with those who do not think like himself.”While they all unite in mocking this far-fetched notion of a Vatican III, their own bishop, whom they despise, is himself reading the CRC. The catechism is being pulled apart, the Mass is attacked, the seminaries empty and priests are deserting – our string of woes is all too well known to him and perhaps haunts him at night.
“ The difference is that the integrists attach themselves in desperation to this thing or that, but they fail to understand that it is due to a sickness of the whole organism that each organ is suffering. ”75
Is it not significant that during a dinner-debate on Febuary 3, 1972 organised by the CRC, one of the guests called out to Fr. de Nantes : “ The other traditionalists say that no one is interested in Vatican III. ”
“ In speaking thus ”, replied our Father, “ they judge themselves. Some of them despise this project because they would rather you place your trust in them rather than in the hierarchy. The others, who take the opposite side, ridicule it because they want to persuade you to accept the present Reform as they themselves have done, without any hope of it being rectified.
“ What I do know is that the idea of Vatican III was a scheme of Cardinal Suenens, of Congar, Küng and Co. We snatched it from them and took up the challenge. Whereupon they began to feel the wind of defeat during the Synod at Rome last autumn, and the Vatican paving stones began to burn their feet. Vatican III has now officially become a reactionary project : the exploitation of the movement of counter-reformation begun at the third Synod. They can no longer bear the idea of returning to Rome for further confrontations. From the few preparations already made, it is clear that Vatican III will be a grand settling of scores between Catholics, and they want to avoid this at all costs. They now prefer to talk of Jerusalem II, a great universal Council of all the religions. Look at the article by Congar in La Croix the other day. Well, there is no clearer way of admitting one’s defeat on Catholic turf, on the Roman rock, than in going to Jerusalem to seek revenge by convoking a Council comprised of all the false religions, a veritable Synagogue of Satan.
“ The press has started to oppose our Vatican III with the idea of a Jerusalem II, a universal Council of all the ‘ Churches ’ and Christians sects, or of all the monotheisms and all the religions ! Let us accept the situation. They will have their Masdu Council, and we will have our Roman Catholic Council. ”76
OCTOBER 11, 1972 :
REVIEW OF THE VATICAN III PREPARATIONS.
THE OBSTACLE TO THE COUNTER-REFORMATION IS PAUL VI.
On the tenth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the twentieth century organised a large meeting in the Mutualité to review the bankruptcy of the Council and to recapitulate all the proposals set forth during its campaign “ Tomorrow, Vatican III ”. On that October 11, 1972, Fr. de Nantes will recount, “ we presented the whole of our doctrine ; the critique of Vatican II simply served to introduce the eleven schemas of Catholic restoration prepared for Vatican III and set forth by three of our brothers and seven circle leaders with a faith and an eloquence which filled their audience with enthusiasm ”77.
It was at the end of this solemn session, on this tenth anniversary of “ the most catastrophic day in the history of the Church ”78 that Fr. de Nantes, after having vigorously incriminated Paul VI, announced his resolution to visit Rome in the near future to place before the Pope’s feet a libellus of accusation against his person, as all the criticisms of the current Reform he had developed were ultimately directed against him.
But let us listen to what Fr. de Nantes had to say himself on that October 11, 1972 to explain and justify his decision :
“ To preserve the tradition, the true religion, is all very well, but ultimately we must reconquer it. And to reconquer it, we must first – excuse my brutality – overthrow the revolutionary and reformist powers… Given that all the disorders and crimes committed today are covered by Authority and are almost universally accepted as a matter of obedience, it is Authority that must be taken to task. Without the authority of the Pope, the Reform would be powerless. But supported by the Pope, it crushes and tramples down everything.
“ If it were a matter of free opinion, the Pope could look down on the quarrel from on high without taking sides, as did Paul V in the debate between the Dominicans and the Jesuits on the subject of grace.
“ If it were a matter of ‘ pastoral ’ practice, of the apostolic, pedagogical and scientific means of converting our contemporaries, as our bishops never tire of repeating, it would be natural that authority would be divided, some accelerating the process and others putting the brakes on. Some of our bishops would be reactionary, and others progressivist. The old and the new would co-exist, both equally well represented and responsive.
“ But no ! Such a choice is excluded. Authority has taken sides to the extent of being partisan, monolithic, absolutist. The pact continues to function and controls everything. It is the trump card of a new religion whose consistent but novel character you have been able to assess this evening. The hierarchy will not tolerate us precisely because it is determined to substitute this new religion for the old, come what may. And it is doing exactly this. It will not tolerate us because, due to its intolerance, its exercise of authority has to us become intolerable.
“ The CRC has been appealing for a year now from the Pope and the bishops of the Pastoral Council of Vatican II, to the same Pope and the same bishops gathered in the Dogmatic Council of Vatican III. Here lies the fitting solution to the crisis of this last ten years. Everything we have said this evening would in any infallible Council represent the triumph of Tradition, the anathema of the current Reform and the liberation of the Christian people. It would be – it will be ! – a festival rather like that ‘ famous festival of orthodoxy ’ which, at Constantinople, in 843, ended the iconoclastic debate after a hundred and twenty years of strife !
“ The means of salvation is clearly defined. There remains one obstacle. The obstacle is Pope Paul VI. Paul VI has tied his reputation, his reign, his heart and all his energies, the formidable power of his authority and of his fascinating personality, to the party of the Reform. He has dedicated himself to installing the cult of Man in the Sanctuary of God. Alive, he drives forward the Reform. Dead, he would become its sacred and intangible guarantee.
“ All the contrary evidence brought by his retainers, believed by the good people and exploited by certain publicists can achieve nothing in the face of this universal fact : Paul VI is the Pope of the Council, the Sovereign Engineer of the Church’s autodemolition, the Introducer of Satan among us. The Cult of man is him. Ecumenism is him. Religious liberty is him. Indifferentism is him. The new catechism is him. The New Mass is him. The suppression of the prayers of exorcism at baptism and the suppression of the function of exorcist just at the moment when he has declared that Satan has returned79, is him.
“ Certain decisive manoeuvres reveal his precise intentions and his entire personal responsibility. Such as the massive number of reductions to the lay state. Such as the suppression of the Antimodernist Oath and the immunity he has guaranteed to Küng, Schillebeeckx, Cardonnel… Such as his decisive intervention on behalf of the Spanish progressivists behind the back of Cardinal Tarancon and against his own assistants from the Congregation of Clergy and the Holy Office, namely Cardinals Seper and Wright.
“ The Pope must be deposed. This is because Paul VI personally incarnates the violation of God’s law by the Reformers. He must be deposed before he can muddy the waters of the election procedure of his successor and so prepare for chaos !
“ Consequently, I have decided – with the agreement of our circle leaders who came together at the Congress on October 1 and with the agreement of my brothers in religion – to go and lay before the feet of His Holiness Pope Paul VI a ‘ libellus accusationis ’, a libellus of accusation, against his Person for heresy, schism and scandal, demanding of him a solemn sentence and infallible judgement on his own Acts. From any other kind of authority, it would be ridiculous to expect this kind of just judgement on itself. But although the Pope remains a peccable and fallible man, he is – even in spite of himself where necessary – impeccable and infallible in his supreme function as Judge of doctrine and morals.
“ The year will not have concluded before we have taken our accusation to Rome, demanding of the Pope that he either retract or resign. I do not want this to be the labour and the honour of one single man, of one man alone. This task must be yours also, if you deem it holy and salutary. ”80
Listening to this speech, the crowd were gripped with intense emotion, as Mr. Jacques Mourot will testify : “ We were shaken by it. ”81
After a moment of breathless silence, the applause rang out. The audience had understood the peril of the hour, but also the gravity and the necessity of such an enterprise.
It was now “ time to betake oneself to prayer ”82.
All references to the CRC journal relate to the original French edition.
1. CRC no 45, June 1971, p.12.
2. Letter to my friends no 186, October 1964, p. 1.
3. Letter to my friends no 206, p. 6.
4. This conversation was published in the review Le Monde et la Vie for November 1965.
5. Quoted in Letter to my friends no 251, September 15, 1967, p. 8.
6. Quoted in CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 1.
7. Ibid., p. 1-2, extracts.
8. CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 1-2, extracts.
9. CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 2, 7-8, extracts.
10. Doc. cath., 1971, p. 807.
11. CRC no 27, December 1969, p. 3.
12. Fr. de Nantes had already dealt in a decisive manner with the question of the authority of Vatican II, particularly in his Letter to my friends no 212 of September 1965. We have previously referred to the other studies by Fr. de Nantes on this subject, which were published in the Letters to my friends and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Cf. For the Church II, p. 162, note 3.
13. CRC no 52, January 1972, p. 1-2.
14. Unam sanctam 51b, p. 211-218,
15. Ibid., p. 787-790.
16. Unam sanctam 51c, p. 1365-1367.
17. CRC no 52, January 1972, p. 1-2.
18. Brother Bruno, CRC no 62, November 1972, p. 4.
19. CRC no 49, October 1971, p. 5.
20. CRC no 74, November 1973, p. 2.
21. CRC no 50, November 1971, p. 15.
22. Ibid., p. 1-5, extracts.
23. CRC no 62, November 1972, p. 3.
24. CRC no 50, November 1971, p. 5-7.
25. CRC no 50, November 1971, p. 6-7, extracts.
26. CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 6.
27. CRC no 50, November 1971, p. 13.
28. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 7.
29. CRC no 56, May 1972, p. 12.
30. CRC no 50, November 1971, p. 10-11.
31. CRC no 56, May 1972, p.12.
32. CRC no 57, June 1972, p. 3.
33. CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 2.
34. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 7.
35. The recordings of these conferences (V 1 to V 11, “ Préparer Vatican III ”) can be obtained from the Catholic Counter-Reformation (Maison Saint-Joseph, 10 260 Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes).
36. All of these studies have been grouped together in volume 4 (French) of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, which has been republished on several occasions and is still available. It contains the essentials.
37. Letter to my friends no 219, December 11, 1965, p. 8.
38. Cf. Pour L’Église, vol. II, p. 238-243.
39. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 7.
40. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 7.
41. CRC no 52, January 1972, p. 4.
42. CRC no 58, July 1972, p. 9.
43. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 12.
44. CRC no 53, February 1972, p. 10-14.
45. Handwritten letter to his friends, dated : “ All Saints’ Eve ”, 1972.
46. CRC no 59, August 1972, p. 15.
47. CRC no 74, Nov 1973, p. 2.
48. CRC no 59, p. 15.
49. Quoted in CRC no 234, July 1987, p. 23.
50. CRC no 58, July 1972, p. 15.
51. CRC no 45, June 1971, p. 12.
52. Cf. infra, p. 206, note 1.
53. CRC no 45, p. 12.
54. CRC no51, December 1971, p. 15.
55. Doc. cath., 1971, p. 1064.
56. On page 9 Fr. de Nantes had drawn particular attention to the following event : “ Msgr. Riobé handed over his officialty chapel to Israelites so that it could be used as a synagogue and that he might take part in a (Jewish) celebration of initiation. ”
57. CRC no 51, December 1971, p. 15.
58. CRC no 55, April 1972, p. 11.
59. CRC no 46, July 1971, p. 11.
60. In the same edition of the Catholic Counter-Reformation for April 1972, Fr. de Nantes indicated to his readers that on March 23, at Marseilles, in the course of a private conversation, Msgr. Etchegaray had categorically stated “ that to be against the last Council is to sin against the Holy Spirit ”. CRC no 55, p. 11.
61. Ibid., p. 1.
62. Fr. de Nantes held a valid celebret dated February 27, 1969 from Msgr. Fougerat, bishop of Grenoble. Then his successor, Msgr. Matagrin, renewed it on October 8, 1970, – we will see further on in what circumstances, infra, p. 365 –, with the note : “ Praesentes valeant usque ad diem 31 decembris 1971, the present are valid until the day of December 31, 1971. ”
63. E. Jombart writes : “ What we call, at least in France, the celebret (‘ let him celebrate ’ or ‘ he may celebrate ’) is a certificate given by ecclesiastical authority attesting that such and such a man may celebrate the Mass. The celebret is equivalent to the litterae commendatitiae of canon 804. In these letters, ‘ the Ordinary attests the legitimacy of the ordination, the absence of all censure or irregularity and the good morals of the cleric, and he recommends him to other bishops ’ (Gasparri). The first paragraph of canon 804 deals implicitly with the necessity and explicitly with the efficacy of the celebretwhich normally gives one the right to say Mass anywhere. ” Dictionary of Canon Law, R. Naz, Letouzey et Ané, 1956, volume 3, col. 126 and 128.
64. Letter of Fr. de Nantes to Brother Gerard dated February 22, 1972.
65. Letter of Fr. de Nantes to Msgr. Matagrin dated September 1, 1974.
66. Letter of Fr. de Nantes to Msgr. Matagrin dated September 1, 1974.
67. “ I struggled alone. Part two : My rejection of schismatic dissidence ”, CRC no 83, August 1974, p. 2.
68. Cf. supra, p. 209.
69. We will pick up the reading later, infra, p. 367.
70. CRC no 56, May 1972, p. 15.
71. CRC no 59, August 1972, p. 15.
72. CRC no 54, March 1972, p. 15.
73. CRC no 59, p. 15.
74. Cf. supra, p. 201.
75. CRC no 59, August 1972, p. 15.
76. CRC no 52, January 1972, p. 11, and CRC no 54, March 1972, p. 5.
77. CRC no 63, December 1972, p. 12.
78. CRC no 49, October 1971, p. 5.
79. Cf. infra, p. 224.
80. CRC no 62, November 1972, p. 15-16.
81. CRC no 74, November 1973, p. 2.
82. CRC no 63, December 1972, p. 12.