The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century
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Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.

9. HERE WE ARE, LORD…

ON June 29, 1947, Georges de Nantes was ordained to the subdiaconate with his confreres of the fourth year. The ceremony coincided with their departure from the Seminary. Before leaving the “ Big House, ” he evoked a final memory  : “ Fr. Baufine reminded us, or to be more exact, he informed us about the obligation we had to take the ‘ Antimodernist Oath ’ imposed by Pope Pius X on every ordinand as well as on every cleric taking possession of a benefice or taking on an office. Of course, we had been spoken to about Modernism, but as some distant growth crisis of ecclesiastical science in its quest for modernity. That was fifty years ago  ! It was all over with now and this Oath was no more than a formality, albeit indispensable. So, one morning, we went to the room called the ‘ salle des Actes ’ to take the oath on the Gospels and to recite the Apostles Creed, St. Pius V’s [anti-Protestant] Profession of Faith and this famous anti-Modernist Oath. Then, while crossing through the cloister, having arrived abreast of our ‘ class prior, ’ Xavier de Chalendar, I heard him say to Tirsi Onis, one of the youngest and boldest of our confreres  : ‘ Oh  ! I did not read it… because if I read it, I would be unable to take it, ’ meaning  : I would be unable to vow to believe it  ! This was the frame of mind in which they were going to take this Oath. ” 1

Subdiaconate

June 29, 1947, at the seminary of Issy-les-Moulineaux, the ceremony of ordination to the subdiaconate. “ Here we are Lord… ”

As for Georges de Nantes, he believed it and would remain faithful to his oath, against a Magisterium that had passed over to the Reform and become… Modernist.

It was not without a lump in his throat that he left what had been for him the “ sanctuary of intelligence, of love, of life-giving light and of spiritual joy, Kingdom of Jesus Christ peopled with beings who lived for Him and His Church. ” 2 It was as a disciple of Fr. Vimal, his wise mentor, that he discovered “ that great law of history  : only men of tradition are capable of understanding the needs of their time and of conceiving the necessary reforms and innovations for the future. All the others can do is demolition work… ” 3

Abbé de Nantes, subdeacon

WHAT IS THE CHURCH  ?

His irreplaceable guide 4 had spoken to him about his personal project  :

“ A treatise on the Church that would meet his twofold concern to explain and defend both the Church’s whole visible apparatus, an apparatus of divine institution, and her inviolable juridical structures. He would do so by giving priority to the invisible principle – the Holy Spirit, the uncreated soul of this Mystical Body – and His hierarchical deployment – its created soul, which cannot be the people but the apostolic hierarchy, constituted in authority, in infallible Magisterium, and as the source of grace. In this, he anticipated the great questions that would be raised twenty years later at the Second Vatican Council, as daring innovations. His concern, however, was to save the living and life-giving order, as holy as it is wise, of our Church in jeopardy by reference to its veritable mystery, which is splendid in both its parts. That is what this stupid Council claimed to contradict. ” 5

Fr. Vimal invited his disciple to join him for his retreat at Meydat in the Auvergne in order to consecrate a month of this summer of 1947 to get such a study off the ground. “ Full of enthusiasm, I entered into this project and delved, on his behalf, into Clérissac’s ‘ The Mystery of the Church ’, Dom Gréa’s ‘ The Church and Her Divine Constitution ’ and the future Cardinal Journet’s ‘ The Church of the Word Incarnate ’, the first volume of which had just appeared. Twenty years later, I was to make use of all this in my accusation against ‘ the heretical Pope ’ and ‘ the schismatic bishop ’ – an accusation made in the service of Christ’s one, true Church, inextricably visible and mystical, charismatic and canonical  ! Had it not been for those almost clandestine seminary meetings, those unexpected holiday tasks and their excellent fruits, would we not have slipped and been carried away by the conciliar current to the nearby falls  ? He certainly would not  ! I, however, do not know how, on my own, I would have saved my soul. ” 6

Not only would he save his soul through his faith in and love of the Church, but he would save multitudes of them. This “ treatise, ” the precious manuscripts of which we have kept, contain in embryo a treasure of doctrine capable of curing, with the help of Our Lady, “ the Church, made ill by the Council, ” 7 and of bringing her back to her merciful Lord, like the unfaithful but repentant spouse of the Canticle of Canticles.

THE SPOUSE OF THE CANTICLE OF CANTICLES.

The fifth year of training for the priesthood and preparation for his university degree led Georges de Nantes to the university seminary of the Carmelite Fathers, the Intstitut catholique de Paris. “  I believe that I worked a great deal, learned and retained a lot through my contact with our Parisian masters, de Broglie, Henry, Daniélou, Robert, Arquillières, Andrieu-Guitrancourt…  ” 8

“ It was a delight […]. My God, my God, how fervent, beautiful and full of life this Church was  ! It was a glory, which each morning revived, to advance there towards the priesthood. ” 9

From Fr. Robert, he received the shock of the revelation of the Canticle of Canticles. “ Most of the exegetes of the time thought that the Canticle of Canticles was a collection of wedding songs. As for Fr. Robert, underlying each word of the Canticle he discerned an allegory, a hidden symbolism of the love story of God for His people, and he provided its exegetical justification. By lifting these words one after the other, like the shells of oysters, in order to discover the hidden pearl, he arrived at a magnificent synthesis.

“ In 1940, when he fled from Paris at the moment of the exodus, he left all that he had, but took his manuscript of the commentary on the Canticle of Canticles in a suitcase. He was near Orleans in the crowd of people who were fleeing when German airplanes began to bomb them. He jumped into a ditch alongside the road with his suitcase. When the bombing ceased, he looked for his suitcase and was no longer able to find it. He had lost twenty years of work.

“ He set to work again, and when I had the good fortune of attending his classes in 1947-1948, he had rewritten everything, found everything again. He told us things that were marvellous with a chilly voice, a cadaverous face, without an ounce of feeling. One would think that he did not understand what he was saying… It astounded me, and when, at the end of the year we sat for our exam, the subject of which was ‘ Theme of the Canticle of Canticles, ’ I wrote what he had taught us. He gave me a bad mark. ‘ You were off the topic  ! ’ Yes, I ought to have discussed what was hidden beneath each Greek and Hebrew word. This is how he was. He was a holy man. In any case, he revealed the Canticle of Canticles to me for the rest of my life. ” 10

At the same time, Georges de Nantes obtained the first prize in the theology competition on ‘ Christ, the Revelation of God. ’ His thought was clearly relational. “ Everything leads us to believe in the existence of a profound relation among all beings, those of the universe among themselves, and between the universe and God […]. The known world is not made to remain autonomous  : philosophy and religion speak to us about relations to the Divine Being. At the summit of creation, the human faculties eminently engender relations, ”he explained in the introduction of his paper, in order to show afterwards that by inserting Himself into the concrete history of mankind, Christ, the perfect Mediator, brought these “ relations ” to their perfection.

THE PROMISE OF ABUNDANT FRUITS.

It was in Grenoble, his native diocese, in the chapel consecrated to Our Lady of La Salette, that he received priestly ordination on March 27, 1948. Ten years later, evoking this anniversary, he confided  :

“ How can I not remember today a ‘ light ’ received in the gallery of the church of the Carmelites on the evening of Maundy Thursday 1948, two days before my ordination  ? I was reading the chapter of St. John on the Grapevine that bears fruit, and the Holy Spirit led me to understand it. Effortlessly, as the words were stamped upon my retina, the thought that these words express was imprinted deeply in my mind. What an ineffable impression  ! I was taken aback when I read there the entire destiny of a priest, grafted onto the mystic Grapevine, constantly pruned by trial in such a way that he bears fruit in abundance. This last word above all resounded in the ear of my soul with the force of the Voice of God Himself. All the rest was summed up in it. It was the proof, the point, the flame of it  : certitude founded on the affirmed Will of the Father to see an abundant fruit come to the Priesthood. It had to be  ; however wretched the human instrument, it would be  ! The sap would flow in him, would gush from his breast in rivers of living water, reanimating extenuated souls and barren regions. The person who has heard such words will not be surprised by the extreme fruitfulness of his works. He will not be discouraged by their continual failure  ; he is an ‘ unprofitable servant, ’ and nevertheless the channel of a grace that, from the Head, flows and always will flow to all the members of the Body. Here concealed, there in the open, the river of living water abounds, inexhaustible. In order to regain the true sense of his function in the Church, it suffices for the priest to murmur the sacred words  : ‘ I am the Vine, you are the branches, and My Father is the Vinedresser. ’ ” 11

Georges de Nantes' ordination

His father, Marc de Nantes.
On Holy Saturday, March 27, 1948, Fr. de Nantes was ordained a priest in Grenoble. The following day, Easter Sunday, he celebrated his first Mass in Chônas.

On the very same Maundy Thursday, Sister Lucy, the seer of Fatima, realised the profound desire of her heart by entering the Carmel St. Teresa, in Coimbra, in order to fulfil her mission “ in silence, in prayer and penance […]. Such is the part the Lord has chosen for me  : to pray and to make sacrifice for those who work and fight in the Lord’s vineyard, and for the extension of His Kingdom. ” 12

On Good Friday, Georges de Nantes, a child of God, whom “ amazing promises intoxicated ” still the day before, found himself a “ sinner tormented by a vulgar but obstinate demon who despised me and exhausted me to the extreme without anyone seeming to be able to come to my aid. Where were you, my Fathers and my brethren  ? I struggled alone until morning in a combat without grandeur.

“ On Holy Saturday I was a man like thousands of others before me, to whom other men, in the name and place of our Lord and Master, gave the power of priesthood and entrusted a part of Church ministry. I was engrossed in the rites. What was important was the gift that was granted to me, in full validity, and the inalienable character with which I am marked for eternity. Concelebrating with my bishop, I wanted to be a living Host and spiritual Bread with Christ for the salvation of the world. This assumption of an ordinary man and wretched sinner to the rank of priest of the Almighty and of mediator was indeed a ‘ Mystery of Faith. ’ What else is there to do at such a moment other than to adore  ?

Georges de Nantes' ordination

In the company of his grandmother and his aunt.

“ Finally, the following day, the holy day of Easter, I celebrated my ‘ first mass ’ in Chônas. I was the priest at the altar where, for so long and so often, I had been an altar boy. A certain magnanimity, a blessed confusion made me sing the mercies of the Lord in an inexpressible serenity of my whole being. Moreover, our parish priest only preached on the terror, the crushing of man under the weight of such responsibility, tribulations and crosses. My parents and my friends preferred these harsh words that the signs of the times inspired to vain compliments. It was, by grace, a hot, sunny day. Our wild cherry tree was in blossom. Its rustic and fragile white flowers, scattered all over, seemed to be warning us to profit by a feast that would not last. Nevertheless, a grace from this day remains, of which eternity will not rob me  : the joy of my mother. ” 13

He came back to Paris to continue his studies, living in Marie-Thérèse House, “ on the pleasant, country-like Denfert-Rochereau Boulevard, where some priests doing studies were welcomed into the company of the old priests of Paris, among whom Canon Osty shone by his witty eloquence and learning. ” 14 Fr. de Nantes earned a degree each year  : theology (1948), social sciences (1949), with a study on worker priests that allowed him to meet them and about whom he wrote a very alarmist report for his professor, Fr. de Soras  ; scholastic philosophy, “ which at the time demanded serious work and exact science ” (1950), French literature at the Sorbonne (1951). This literature degree, our Father wrote, was “ too glorious to my mind for its real worth ”.

Georges de Nantes' ordination

With a friend.
“ I was the priest at the altar where, so often, I had been an altar boy. A certain magnanimity, a blessed confusion made me sing the mercies of the Lord in an inexpressible serenity of my whole being… A grace from this day remains, of which eternity will not rob me  : the joy of my mother. ”

FECUNDITY.

At the same time, he was preparing two theses, one in theology and the other in philosophy  : the first, which was enormous, was under the direction of Fr. Paul Henry and was to be presented in the Sorbonne on “ The Metaphysical Structure of the Person. ” It would remain unfinished. The second, on “ The Notion of Person in the Work of St. Thomas Aquinas, ” was soon ready. The former, “ a synthesis of astounding novelty, of extreme boldness, but fecund, meaningful and beautiful, ” would have considerable consequences in all fields of theology and anthropology.

“ For me, the great sign of its truth was the liberating solution it provided to the intolerable opposition that traditional Latin theology establishes between the two great Christian Mysteries of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of the Word […].

“ On the contrary, I discovered in my universal and analogic definition of the person, as a relation of origin, marvellous and converging harmonies between the two Mysteries, a perfect continuity  ! ” 15

“ I quickly began to test in anthropology this new definition that defines the person by his constituent relation or his relation of origin. It is like the person of the son who is constituted in his totally individual uniqueness by his relation to his father and mother. I rediscovered my pious humanism and my right-wing humanism, let us say St. Francis of Sales and Cardinal Pie, St. Pius X and Maurras. I shouted with contentment. As a result, however, Maritain’s confused deductions on the human person, his ‘ subsistence ’ and his autonomy, his dignity and rights, the inviolable and sacred rights of man, all this individualist, navel-contemplating, democratic and revolutionary Scholastico-Kantian apparatus, which was Gaullist and stamped with the ideas of the Resistance at the time, was shattered. It was bad moral doctrine and the worst politics, whether or not they be based on Boethius’ definition – ‘ individual substance of rational nature. ’ Let us attack Boethius, then, and we will be free  !

“ To attack Boethius, however, meant attacking Aristotle anterior to him, and St. Thomas Aquinas and all the scholastics posterior to him  ! It was not a question of demolishing them, obviously  ! Even so, it entailed correcting them, perfecting them, on this one central, capital point. It was quite audacious. I set to work. I studied the status of the person in philosophy of nature and in metaphysics in as many authors as possible. I had mountains of books. I also studied the status of relation in Aristotle’s Categories and all their commentaries, in the other logicians and philosophers too. It was an immense work because the key words  : substance, nature, person recurred everywhere. There were sensitive points at which I winced – when everyone accepted what Aristotle said, magister dixit – that I, in the course of my study, was obliged to contest. Little by little my mental universe modified itself or rather, found its bearings again. Maritain was no longer the only one in the wrong, but St. Thomas, and through him, more than he, Aristotle  ! Was Aristotelianism the original sin  ? Where was I heading  ! […]

“ A thought of Leibniz accompanied me during these five years of laborious reflecting  : ‘ The authors who follow these different routes should not ill-treat one another ’ (Metaphysical discourse, chapter 21) Thus, through grace I was prevented from yielding to the spirit of novelty and revolution, even Copernican… because I had remarked the emptiness of Modernist reconstructions, and conversely because I had learned and ascertained the steadfast truth of Aristotelian substantialism […]. I had no intention of destroying Aristotle and St. Thomas  ; I did not pretend to surpass them. I only asked permission to revise a few points that I would have preferred to be minor. The truth, however, obliged me to admit that some of them were fundamental, capital points of the most vital importance for everyone’s faith and for Catholic mysticism, for metaphysics and physics, for morality and the humanities, for the politics on which depends the fate of nations. ” 16

This is why we can say  : “ Having understood that it was necessary to isolate the essence and the accidents of each being, Aristotle took the first step of metaphysical science. We owe the next progress to St. Thomas, who distinguished existence from essence. The third step is relational metaphysics, the merit of which is due to our Father. ” 17

This is how Fr. de Nantes himself answered the question that he had posed to Fr. Guilbeau in the past. 18 The weight of the grace of this doctrine did not cease to increase with time, bringing to light an immense metaphysical novelty and a ‘ total theology ’ which, for fifty years, enlightened his mind and did not cease to shine on the whole of his school of thought.

Alas  ! This brilliant work was interrupted by the events of 1952, which we will relate in the next chapter. As for the thesis on “ The Notion of Person in the Work of St. Thomas Aquinas, ” it was barred by his thesis master, Canon Lallemant, “ professor of metaphysics at the Institut catholique. He had always given me the highest marks and certain professors wanted me to consider succeeding him when he would soon go into retirement. Vanitas vanitatum… When I think back on it  ! ” 19

Lallement could not stand to see the Aquinate’s substantialism criticised. At the time, those who heard about the barring of the thesis laughed. Fr. de Nantes regretted it, not out of attachment to his work. He was convinced “ that it was indeed a speculative truth, but above all a vital necessity for the future of the world because of its moral and political repercussions. If it did not achieve a breakthrough, it would be Maritain who would become the great mentor of ecclesiastical thought, and that would be the ruin of the Church and of nations. ” 20

Seventy years later, this is what we see and verify  ! Thus, the promise of Maundy Thursday was coming true  : the vine shoot was being pruned in order to bear fruit more abundantly  !

FIRST RUPTURES.

In 1948, Fr. de Nantes was engaged as philosophy professor by Fr. Épagneul, the founder of the Country Missionary Brothers, in their Saint-Sulpice Priory for Studies in the department of Oise in the north of France.

“ They were honest, enthusiastic and robust country people. I taught them St. Thomas and thus immunised them against the progressivism and Modernism that their elder brothers, trained at the Dominican Faculties of Saulchoir, in Belgium, had contracted there for life. My students listened to me only too well  ! ” 21 Since this influence was exercised counter to the ‘ modern ’ orientation that the brothers wanted to impose on the students, contradiction between the Christian Democrat superiors and the disciple of St. Pius X quickly became unbearable. The reading in the refectory of the ‘ Letter on the Sillon, ’ condemning Christian Democracy, which had been proposed to the prior of studies on the occasion of the death and solemn funeral at Notre-Dame de Paris of Marc Sangnier, the founder of this same Sillon, was the last straw.

“ Fr. Épagneul bluntly dismissed me in June 1950, going as far as to forbid me to return to fetch my books and see my students, who were to be led by religious obedience down very different paths. ” 22

Fr. de Nantes then took over from a confrere as chaplain of the Blind Sisters of St. Paul, at 88 Denfert-Rochereau Avenue. Absorbed by his concern for souls, he naturally learned braille, in order to become blind with the blind, as St. Paul became weak to win over the weak.

“ That, however, is nothing, ” he said. “ Our ambition is quite different  : to love them so much as to become truly blind in all our action, our teachings, our slightest gestures. It is not easy, ” but it means being a disciple of the Light of the world Who “ became a lowly creature in our likeness in order that blind humanity might walk in the company of its Lord, enlightened from above, as His companion, His equal, His spouse. Sighted sisters and blind sisters, when charity unites you, you become the perfect image of Christ and the Church, ” he taught them.

In 1952 he celebrated with real joy the centenary of the foundation of this admirable Work. “ At number 88 Denfert-Rochereau Avenue, I approached beautiful souls. Their corporeal blindness made them apt to seize invisible things better than we and to live a loftier perfection. What happiness this gentle ministry was for me  ! ” 23

Another break, however, marked the summer of 1950.

The Abbé de Nantes baptizes a child

One day, Fr. de Nantes was asked to come immediately to the home of a working-class family  : a child, his face ashen, was doubled up with pain. He was on the verge of death. “ So I shortened the liturgical rites and poured the water of baptism on the child… The child no longer moved and his parents said together  : ‘ He is dead. ’ At that very moment, however, he stirred, ceased to moan, and his flesh became rosy. A miracle of baptism, a joy for the parents  ! This power of baptismal water was a grace that was granted to me at the beginning of my ministry. (cf. Mk 9  :26-27) I believe in it. ”

“ During the holidays, I had a parish ministry. In 1948, the Bishop of Grenoble had sent me to St. Bruno’s church, a large working-class parish. An avant-garde liturgy and pastoral practice were the rule there. Its only apparent tangible effect was to destroy the network of admirable and dynamic works that the previous parish priest, Canon Joussard, had developed ‘ under Pétain. ’ I went along with everything, but in the summer of 1950, it became unbearable. ” 24

The incident occurred on the feast of August 15. In his sermon, Fr. de Nantes had praised Mary, true Mother of Christians, opposing Her to Eve, their cruel mother. “ Eve does not exist here  ! Is that understood  ? ” Fr. Bolze snapped during lunch. Now, on the very same day, Pius XII published his encyclical in which he reaffirmed the dogma of the existence of our first parents and of Original Sin. At that time the Pope defended the Faith… like Fr. de Nantes. “ Their formal refusal of the encyclical Humanis Generis seemed to me irreconcilable with the Faith. I said so; it was not appreciated. ” 25 He was dismissed. “ You see, ” the parish priest said, “ in three months he destroys our year’s pastoral work. ” 26

His ‘ training reports ’ 27 at St. Bruno’s in Grenoble in 1950 and at St. André’s in 1951, show by a hundred anecdotes et facts, taken from real life, that the future master of the Catholic Counter-Reformation had perfectly detected the vice of this new pastoral methodology of parish destruction and Catholic Action. He foresaw only too well the total and pitiful failure that would impose itself everywhere twenty years later, thanks to the Council.

During the following holidays, he did another training period, this time at Vénissieux in the suburbs of Lyon, replacing a parish priest who had fallen ill. There were steadfast Christians in this red suburb, the car manufacturer Berliet’s stronghold, where the Communist Party held sway. After a few weeks of intensive parish ministry, with the help of good leaders, a dynamic, booming, parish youth club was established… The reds and the secular school were furious  ! These people found nothing better than to offer ‘ top-quality ’ soccer shoes free in order to turn away all the well-identified team leaders from the parish youth club  ! “ I would have willingly stayed there, but the parish priest fortunately recovered and resumed his work. I returned to Paris with a heavy heart. ” 28

His heart was heavy and wounded, but filled with the gift of fortitude in order to engage in the grand combat for the Faith, which would be that of his entire life. In fact, the revolution that he had witnessed at the seminary in 1944-1945, the devastating effects of which he had observed in several so-called ‘ avant-garde ’ parishes, from then on had its Doctor in the person of the Dominican, Fr. Yves Congar. In December 1950, Fr. Congar had published his major work under the title True and False Reform in the Church, which was to become the charter of the Second Vatican Council.

AGAINST FALSE PROPHETS.

“ I weighed up the danger and I thought it my duty to bring it to the attention of Rome when I went there on pilgrimage for the beatification of most beloved and venerated Pius X, on June 3, 1951. ”

Cardinal Ottaviani had willingly received him, sub secreto Sancti Officii. That was before the deluge. “ I hear you, ” this prince of the Church, whose dignity impressed the nothing that I am, said paternally. Finally I spoke and was not interrupted except for a few words of encouragement to continue […]. As Cardinal Ottaviani encouraged me to give my opinion of it all, I ventured to express the anguish I felt at this project which was nothing more than a wholesale and permanent revolution under the appearance of a wise and constructive reform. I was so bold as to indicate the unprecedented, impious danger of this historical dialectic, this most insane Hegelianism. I made a comparison  : according to Fr. Congar, the splendid Roman edifice would not be touched at all. No  ! The old building, however, would be lifted, set down on rails and made to slide from its old Catholic religious (cultual) environment to that of our more profoundly Christian cultural modernity. Nothing would have changed and, without a jolt, a new Church would be born of this new arrangement […]. The Cardinal quietly thanked me and reminded me of the secrecy I was bound to observe concerning this conversation. When the book in question was withdrawn from the bookshops and its author exiled and reduced to a certain silence, I did not breathe a word about my denunciation. When I learned in those same years that Pope Pius XII was worried about French audacity and was thinking of summoning a council to remedy the evil of a dangerous neo-Modernism, I did not shout victory. In Rome, however, everything becomes known and everything is guessed. ” 29

The move made Bishop Montini, the future Paul VI, then substitute at the Secretariat of State and a great friend of Fr. Congar, say  : “ Of two Frenchmen who are theologically minded, one has an original idea and the other comes to Rome to denounce it. ”

If the secret of the Holy Office was well-guarded, the articles on religious politics that Fr. de Nantes published in the weekly, Aspects de la France, under the pseudonym of Amicus, made a definite impact and remain still today a testimony against the impious project of the man who would be called the “ father of the Council. ”

Under the title  : ‘ Father Congar, the Doctor of Reformism, ’ a first article analyses the Reverend Father’s argumentation. It can be summed up in three points  :

“ 1. Major theological premise  : in the Church one must make the distinction between her structure, which is unchangeable, holy, inviolable, and her life, which remains sinful, outmoded and capable of being reformed.

“ 2. The minor dialectical premise  : a continual reforming function is required, assumed by prophets in order to make life evolve and progress according to the requirements of history, especially in our times of accelerated evolution […].

“ 3. Conclusion with a practical impact  : just so, a reform movement is now underway and is succeeding […]. We must therefore let the movement take its course, encourage it, and adhere to it. Anyway, true progress in life is irresistible. ” 30

In the two following articles, ‘ Speech Condemning the Defence of the Prophets of the Revolution, ’ Amicus denounces their project of usurping the Church’s authority  : “ Rev. Fr. Congar is attempting to make the effect of this passing intimidation last by defining the special authority of the innovators  : he consecrates it once and for all, he thinks, as a prophetic function. ” 31 They are, however, false prophets.

Finally, in a fourth article entitled ‘ The Great Moulting of the Church in the 20th Century, ’ the very one that would take place at Vatican II (  !), Amicus attacks the very principle of Congarian reformism, “ an absolute novelty in Christian thought… Will you accuse me of wanting to abolish totally the whole prophetic function, all reform  ? I will reply that the reformers and saints have never made this distinction that the Reverend Father himself has difficulty making totally his own. They contented themselves with refusing the spirit of the world, the invasion of certain defects, and rank injustices  ; they did not open the Church to the modern world, they brought it back to God and, in this return, the Church found a necessary renewal […].

“ The Church is a living indivisible reality. Her past is engraved in her features and cannot be torn from her. She can neither deny it nor abandon its remnants and documents. ”

The “ prophetic ” conclusion – yes, this one is – announces the devastating flood of divine punishment that will necessarily follow this renouncement of the ‘ waters of Shiloah that flow gently ’ (Is 8  :5-8) in the Holy Church. 32 Sixty years later, we cannot help seeing the literal fulfilment of these ‘ prophecies of woe ’  !

These four articles, masterpieces of a chronicle that spanned more than three years, revealed more than a theologian familiar with holy Scripture and the history of the Church, more than a polemicist with a brilliant pen. They revealed a veritable master, who was only twenty-five years old and who was determined to make a ‘ counter-revolutionary voice ’ heard in the Paris of the nineteen-fifties, one who belonged to the Church.

 


(1) Memoirs and Anecdotes, Vol. II, p. 360.

(2) Ibid., p. 363.

(3) Ibid., p. 376.

(4) Ibid., p. 367.

(5) Ibid., pp. 376-377.

(6) Ibid., p. 377.

(7) Title of a series of conferences given at the Mutualité Hall in Paris (1982-1983) for the twentieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council in which our Father developed, following Dom Vonier, an Irish Benedictine Abbot, new and very rich views on the Mystery of the Church,“ People of God. ”

(8) CRC no. 110, October 1976, p. 4.

(9) CRC no. 6, p. 18.

(10) Retreat on Saint Francis de Sales and His Extraordinary Vocation, Maison Saint-Joseph, 1995.

(11) Letter to My Friends no. 31 of March 27, 1958.

(12) Letter of April 12, 1970 to a friend.

(13) CRC no. 6 (suppl.), March 1968, pp. 18-19.

(14) CRC no. 110, October 1976, p. 4.

(15) CRC no. 170, October 1981, p. 11.

(16) Ibid., pp. 11-12.

(17) La Renaissance catholique no. 167, April 2009, p. 3.

(18) Cf. supra, p. 77.

(19) CRC no. 170, October 1981, p. 12.

(20) Ibid., p. 12.

(21) CRC no. 110, October 1976, p. 4.

(22) Ibid., p. 4.

(23) Ibid.

(24) Ibid.

(25) Ibid.

(26) CRC no. 110, October 1976, p. 4.

(27) Published in the appendix of the collection of articles of Amicus, 2008, pp. 265-272.

(28) CRC no. 110, p. 4.

(29) CCR no. 258, May 1993, pp. 2-3.

(30) Amicus, March 16, 1951, p. 169.

(31) Amicus, March 30, 1951, p. 171.

(32) Amicus, April 14, 1951, pp. 177-178.