He is risen !
N° 231 – April 2022
Director : Frère Bruno Bonnet-Eymard
Letter to Bishop Alexandre Joly
VICTOR QUIA VICTIMA
THE year 1996 was terrible in our Father’s life. This was the price to pay for producing a decisive piece in his fight against the reform of the Church initiated at the Second Vatican Council.
On January 10, 1996, the parliamentary commission formed to investigate sects published a report written by Jacques Guyard in which the Communities of Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart were designated as ‘pseudo-Catholic sects’ and classified as dangerous movements. This condemnation, without trial, without appeal, launched in the public gave the starting signal for a series of police and administrative investigations launched with the obvious aim of annihilating our communities. What happened to all these accusations of clandestine work, tax evasion, breach of trust, fraudulent abuse of dependency situation, money laundering, etc.? Nothing, absolutely nothing! Thanks to the prudence and wisdom of the magistrates of the judicial and administrative orders who did not content themselves with vulgar press clippings to study the facts reported to them, our Father and all the brothers and sisters were cleared of all these infamous accusations and of all kinds launched against them. That our communities were able to escape such political, media, police and judicial turmoil without being shipwrecked is a true miracle.
But the worst, which was not reached, had to come from Bishop Gérard Daucourt, who dared to exploit the state lie, of which we were then victims. Bishop Fauchet, who had preceded him in the see of Troyes from 1967 to 1992, had always considered that the ‘de Nantes affair’ was the sole responsibility of the Roman Authority – which is perfectly true – and thus showed a certain tolerance towards us, leaving us great freedom in the organisation of all our activities for the friends of our Communities. But for Bishop Gérard Daucourt, his successor in 1992, who broke the modus vivendi, it was quite different.
On July 27, 1996, he took the initiative to circulate a warning against our Father by personal letter, well beyond the borders of his jurisdiction, in France and abroad. He did not fear to leave hanging over Father de Nantes the worst insinuations concerning “practices that have been condemned and punished by the Church at all times: people have thereby been rightly scandalised”. He accused him of leading a religious community “although the suspension deprives him of all governing authority.” In so doing, the bishop passed over in silence that our Father was not only the founder with the agreement of Bishop Le Couëdic who had welcomed him and his brothers into his diocese, but above all the superior since the year 1958 without explicit opposition until then from the ordinaries who succeeded each other at the head of the diocese of Troyes
Bishop Daucourt also reproached our Father for alleged heresies: “Father de Nantes teaches doctrines that are in contradiction with the Catholic faith, notably on the subject of the Holy Trinity, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Holy Eucharist.” Thus, there is nothing new under the sun! We find the same theses as those developed in the Warning of June 25, 2020. Hence the strong temptation to think that the members of the Doctrinal Commission were content to ‘work’ on twenty-four-year-old files. Files prepared by whom and how?
See for yourself:
With regard to Father de Nantes’ theology on the Eucharist, this is what you and your confreres affirm in the Warning in a very light way: « He is reported to have said that the noise of the breaking of the hosts during the Agnus Dei is that of the ribs of Christ being broken by the priest! These unworthy words contradict the Scriptures which take care to indicate that not one of His bones was broken (cf. Jn 19:36; Ps 34:21; Ex 12:46; Nb 9:12,) and they confirm the unsoundness of this piety.” But our Father never said or wrote anything of the sort!
If you had bothered to refer to No. 116 of the Catholic Counter-Reformation of April 1977, and more particularly to paragraph 2 of page 11, column 1 (the English translation was published in the Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 96, March 1978), you would have read exactly the opposite of what you falsely wrote in the Warning: “Jesus breaks the bread, an action which has been interpreted by some as a sacrificial act, symbolising Christ’s brutal death on the Cross. But against this interpretation Saint John relates the following Scriptural regulation concerning the Paschal Lamb, which he applies to Jesus as a prophecy: ‘Not one of His bones will be broken’ (19:36). Furthermore, the expression ‘broken for you’ in 1 Co 11:24 is a variant from a poorly attested text. Nevertheless, the Body is given, delivered up for you; the ambiguity remains. In the broken bread do we not find a reply to the grievance voiced in the Lamentations of Jeremiah (4:4): ‘The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them?’ The bread to be broken is His Word; it is the nourishing, beneficent and loving Presence of Him Who is Himself the Word of God.”
Regarding Father de Nantes’ theology on the Holy Trinity, you also argued this: “We will not deal here with the debate on the theology of the Trinity and the unfortunate formula presenting the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as ‘three divine beings’.” You will not deal here… But still enough to write a stupid thing! We did a thorough search in the complete works of our Father, including the transcripts of his sermons. It so happens that he used the expression “three divine beings” only once, during a sermon delivered on June 14, 1992, the feast of the Holy Trinity, but again to say exactly the opposite of what you wrote just as falsely: “When three people love each other, they come so close together that it becomes a single group, but it is three different people. Whereas the three divine Persons are not three distinct divine Beings, close to each other, and therefore it is not love that makes the union between the three Persons, otherwise it would be very understandable,” there would no longer be a mystery.
This, Excellency, is what it costs to pretend to give an ‘enlightened’ opinion on the work of a theologian, by ‘working’ from files prepared in advance by ‘one does not know who’ when the most elementary intellectual honesty on the part of a bishop acting not in the exercise of his office, but as an expert to inform and advise his confreres in the episcopate, required you to consult personally and directly the works of Father de Nantes as they were published, which you obviously did not do. But what right did you have to do so?
Bishop Daucourt, it is clear, did not bother with any rights. Without the slightest supporting evidence, or quotation of any proposal taken from Father de Nantes’ written and audio-visual productions, without any prior canonical enquiry, without even having warned the accused and allowed him to present his defence, he launched accusations in public while enjoining our Father in writing to leave Maison Saint-Joseph: “I want to help you to seek, in discretion, the place where you can have the support you need for your conversion.”
“OBEDIENTIA IN DILECTIONE.”
On August 1, 1996, our Father was able to obtain an audience from his bishop. It was brief and dramatic. The bishop threatened him with a media scandal and ordered him to cease all his activities, to retire for good to a monastery, to have no further contact with his brothers, sisters and friends. After this interview, our Father simply said to us: “Pray so that I may know where my duty lies.” He suffered an agonising wrench, until light dawned in his soul.
“I have never instituted legal proceedings against anyone,” he explained to his friends, “for the sole defence of my interests (I have none) nor of my reputation (always wanting!). In all circumstances, I have followed with delight, the line of the greatest slope of abjection where I was thrown... It is true, however, that I have appealed to the Pope every ten years since 1965, but not in my defence: for that of his infallibility and for his eternal salvation.”●
Bishop Daucourt claimed to set aside the true doctrinal dispute, i.e. the Reformation of the Church launched by Vatican II and conducted at top speed, since, by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. In so doing, the Bishop acted slyly in order to attack only Father de Nantes’ mystical theology and his alleged behaviours condemned by the Law of the Church. From the point of view of both civil and canonical law this was completely illegal. Yet, our Father took the side of not defending himself and sacrificing himself to preserve both his communities so that they could continue the Catholic Counter-Reformation fight.
After the Father General of the Grande Chartreuse had refused to welcome Father de Nantes in his monastery because of the latter’s opposition to the Council, Bishop Daucourt indicated another monastery on September 5, the Cistercian abbey of Hauterive near Fribourg in Switzerland. Our Father obeyed with some eagerness: “I am leaving,” he told the brothers and sisters, “not because of some ‘women’s gossip’, but because it is impossible to come to terms with the bishop on the faith. We are going to pass through a tortuous tunnel, but to reach the light. This is going to be useful to the Church. That is what is galvanising.” As a result, he replied the same day to Bishop Daucourt: “I commend myself entirely to Your Excellency for the care, the charge of having me admitted into a cloister, behind walls, near a community, or within it, abandoning all right of communication, of correspondence, of exterior relations, in an exact obedience to my superiors, retaining only the inalienable freedom of inner belief,” i.e. that of professing the Catholic Faith intimately, and thus to reject the heresies of the Second Vatican Council. As for the rest, he was game for anything, he accepted everything.
WITNESS OF THE TRUTH.
Father de Nantes’ reclusion in Hauterive began on Sunday, September 22, 1996 and was organised by decision of the Father Abbot. Our Father was to follow a regime of absolute solitude, well adapted to the situation it suggested of “a scandalous priest sent there to serve his penalty and repent, or as an old man wanting to retire from the world to prepare himself for his forthcoming death.” Our Father embraced with exaltation this cross presented to him by his bishop, understanding it as “the last degree of abjection, the one from which one rises only if one is a saint because then it is obvious that such a trial must be, just before death, martyrdom, the seal of the burning love of this soul and of Jesus and Mary, becoming one. It is a Good for Heaven.”
For us brothers and sisters left alone, more than ever lost children of the Church, deprived of their spiritual Father, but determined to continue in community his fight for the Catholic Counter-Reformation, we had to understand later that the Good God allowed this separation, this regime of reclusion to give our Father “time, serenity, the atmosphere of peace, everything to examine the substance of the problem” which remained and still remains today his “accusation of heresy, therefore of schism and scandal” brought “against the Council, therefore against the Popes of the Council and against the New Catechism at the time of the Council”.
Thus ‘well enclosed in Hauterive’ in great solitude, equipped with the only text of the Acts of the Second Vatican Council, our Father undertook, day after day, an attentive rereading. The better to penetrate their meaning, he copied its writings out, and as he proceeded he noted down his reflections, in praise or criticism, with equanimity. “From the opening speech by John XXIII, I found myself captivated by an absorbing interest in this work […]. Although the work was tiresome each time I resumed it, it soon became fascinating, and with the texts thus copied out, analysed and studied, I think I could say that I knew them thoroughly, their form, their declared intentions and even their authors’ most secret ulterior motives […].
“The criticisms I had made in the past came back to me, but so gravely reinforced that, from day to day, it seemed to me imperative for the salvation of souls, for the indefectible holiness of the Church, but even more for God’s very Truth, or at least for the honour and credit of human and Christian intelligence, that these texts be revised and corrected, and for the most part or rather – dare I say it? – for the whole lot to be retracted by the very Fathers who had promulgated them, or their successors since they are humanly aberrant, dogmatically heretical and appallingly subversive. The cause of the Church’s ruin is here, under my scalpel, and it has to be eradicated.”●
An iniquity among many others committed by the Fathers of the Council, to be repaired for the salvation of souls, for the unfailing holiness of the Church? This dishonour inflicted on the Blessed Virgin Mary, relegated to the eighth chapter, that is, the last, of the constitution Lumen gentium. Concerning paragraphs 60 and 61, our Father comments: “These are admirable classical texts in which all would be perfect if beautiful circumlocutions did not evoke the role of ‘mediatrix of all graces’ devolved upon the Virgin by a pure decree of the Father, based on the superabundance of the merits of Jesus, Son of God, Son of Mary, without agreeing to pronounce the word! While one hundred and fifty years ago, the Bishop of Grenoble already greeted the Virgin of La Salette, reconciler of sinners, with the title of ‘second Mediatrix of redeemed humanity.’ It is even with some hesitation that the Council admits “the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, Mediatrix,” without neglecting to warn against abuse (62). It is amusing to justify these titles, by comparing this ‘cooperation’ of Mary in the work of Jesus to that of the ‘ministers’ cooperating in the priesthood of Christ!!! Nothing less!
“We arrive at their boorishness (for us, unacceptable) – they who are constantly thinking of being equal to Christ, under the pretext of being His Body – in writing: “The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate (sic!) role of Mary (without Her titles or crowns!). It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful,” etc. Say what you will, but those who speak in these terms, considering themselves the Church, have towards the Most Blessed Virgin a lack of tact, veneration, respect, love that is, here, scandalous.”●
During the hundred days of this immense daily work, “what relieved me was to interrupt this study to return to the chapel to ask our Heavenly Father how it was possible for everyone, even Albino Luciani, the future John-Paul I, to have taken part in this gust of madness… and by what aberration or ‘diabolical disorientation,’ all of them, even today, even these holy monks whom I was living with, subscribe to this neo-Christianity, this Modernist gnosis already condemned by Saint Pius X and by the entire time-honoured tradition? It was then, whilst walking along the nearby river, that the idea, the temptation flashed vertiginously into my mind of committing suicide, which would resolve the insoluble Ignatian problem of ‘quid agendum?’ What must I do now?
“The response was to pray, to work relentlessly, then to publish this literal criticism, with no other concern but that of the Truth, in a book with a fiery title like that of a lampoon: Vatican II, Auto-da-fe… and leave the Church to do her duty, having acquitted myself of mine with this last attempt.”●
No, our Father’s duty was not quite finished, as the Good God had made known to him through Bishop Daucourt, at the end of these one hundred days of exile. During this period, he had managed to unify in his own life “the sweetness of prayer and the savour of supernatural wisdom with controversy, such as the Church Fathers always gave the example.” After allowing himself to be led with complete docility to total annihilation, without a cry, without a complaint, without the slightest glance thrown back... to bear witness to the Truth of the Catholic faith, our Father understood that Hauterive was only one station of a painful Way of the Cross that he had to pursue, again at the head of his communities, to lead the Counter-Reformation on which Bishop Daucourt was about to deal a fatal blow.
TO ANNIHILATE THE CATHOLIC COUNTER-REFORMATION.
During his forced exile in Hauterive, our Communities were applying to the letter what our Father had planned for them in a farewell sermon: “I taught them the doctrine of Jesus. I instilled in them a love of the Blessed Virgin. I can go. They will continue without me. And by continuing without me, they will reduce all my slanderers to silence.”
Once our Father had left, however, Bishop Daucourt, was sure that he would be able to ‘lay hands on his Communities.’ Our Father had entrusted them to him for him to watch over, but not to disperse them!
The first attempt came in September. The bishop ordered each of the brothers and sisters either to abandon the religious life, to join a different Community or to remain in the Community, but as a de facto association of lay people under his “supervision,” subject to “a canonical inquiry” and all that this might then entail. On September 12, all the brothers of Maison Saint-Joseph and all the sisters of Maison Sainte-Marie responded personally to Bishop Daucourt that they wanted to continue living in the Community but under the same conditions as previously. As far as I was concerned, I warned him that we would conform to the status quo observed thus far by Bishop Le Couëdic, by Bishop Fauchet and by himself during the first four years of his episcopate in the See of Troyes.
The second attempt to commandeer our Communities came on December 27. Bishop Gérard Daucourt wrote to us: “Brothers and Sisters in Christ [...]. I remain preoccupied with your situation – a situation that cannot last any longer [...]. In order to do this, I must continue to fulfil my role as bishop, not to destroy but to help.” Then, he suggested meeting with a monk having “a long experience of responsibility in the service of monastic communities.”
“Not to destroy…” The words were indicative of ill-concealed intentions. I immediately pointed this out to Bishop Daucourt in a letter dated January 2, 1997. I harked back to that Sunday – it was December 8, 1996 – when the church of Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes, being too small to hold us, we were obliged to ‘invade’ his cathedral, which he had deserted to participate in an ‘ecumenical reconciliation celebration’ in the church of Saint-Jean de Valence, with an Orthodox, thus a schismatic, and a Protestant, thus a heretic.
I continued: “That is precisely the reason for our mistrust, Excellency. It precludes our giving a ‘trusting, positive response’ to your appeal. While we were practising our holy Catholic religion by attending the 11 o’clock Mass in your cathedral, you were elsewhere celebrating another cult, which is not Catholic. That is what creates a dissension, ‘a worrying situation’ between us. ‘It cannot last any longer.’ It is true. For our good and that of the Church, it absolutely has to be clarified.”
Then, I added: “In any case, that is a question which exceeds the competence of the monk whom you have commissioned to meet us. What is at issue is whether we are still Catholic when we reject the religion of Vatican II that you practise not only unreservedly but with enthusiasm. Such is the question that has to be settled before “taking the necessary steps for us to be subject to the norms of canon law.” Nevertheless, I admitted to him my uncertainty as to what my duty was, and I told him that, along with Brother Gérard, I would go to Hauterive, the following day, to visit our Father and ask him whether our obedience had to go as far as allowing the Catholic Counter-Reformation to be annihilated and singing with everyone else: ‘I believe in God Who believes in man’. [This was a refrain that was sung at Sunday Masses in Saint-Parres.]” His answer was, of course, no.
Informed of Bishop Daucourt’s designs for our Communities, our Father understood that he could no longer persevere, even at the cost of the most glorious sacrifices, in his obedience to the injunctions of his bishop without becoming complicit in the error that he had so boldly denounced in his new analysis of the Acts of Vatican II. His duty became clear to him: to come out of exile and resume his place at the head of the Communities and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. On the very evening of his return to Maison Saint-Joseph, January 3, 1997, he explained to the brothers and sisters gathered in chapter: “I have come back,” he told us, “for a hard way of the Cross that we will have to travel together. I have come back because I do not want their (the Pope’s and the bishops’) bulldozer to crush the last bastion of the Faith. Everything is subservient to them; they meet no obstacle. Here, however, we say: ‘Stop, we will not let you through!’ ”
BISHOP DAUCOURT’S GAFFES.
Our Father’s warning was aimed first and foremost at Bishop Daucourt who, in March, did not fail to open hostilities and launch an assault on our houses with the ‘bulldozers’ of the Reformation of the Church. A year later, however, it was clear that the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart remained more than ever united, in their houses, by the common vocation they have of a superior service of the Church, around their Founder. While the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guise of an austere and severe decision, in fact compensated for the clumsiness of a zealous Bishop Daucourt asked to leave the see of Troyes to take possession of that of Orleans, failing to measure the ‘complexity’ of the ‘de Nantes affair’, the very delicate and very embarrassing question it raises in Rome!
On March 5, 1997, Bishop Daucourt had addressed a first letter to our Father reproaching him mainly for “half-covert doctrines that undermine Catholic dogmas” as well as “covert or semi-covert practices contrary to Catholic morality.”
Then on March 10, in a second letter, your predecessor forthrightly and quite sincerely revealed the substance of his thoughts, convinced that he had the gravamen required to finally settle this matter. Conducting a review of issue 329 of The Catholic Counter-Reformation published in January 1997, Bishop Daucourt wrote: “I note that you maintain the doctrinal positions you have stated on many an occasion in your public writings: the texts promulgated by the Second Vatican Council are ‘humanly aberrant and dogmatically heretical’ and you demand that they be revised, corrected or retracted. You speak of a ‘Modernist gnosis’. You accuse ‘the Conciliar Sect of wanting to make a clean slate of the Catholic Faith in order to establish within three years John Paul II’s new religion’. You reiterate the accusation of heresy, schism and scandal which, from 1965 on, you have brought against the Council, popes and authors of catechisms. You proclaim that the Catholic religion is incompatible with the conciliar faith. And in the last pages, ‘Brother Gérard de la Vierge’ denounces ‘the opposition engaged in for thirty years between the one true religion of the one, holy, Catholic, apostolic and Roman Church, and the religion of man who makes himself God, as proclaimed by the baneful Second Vatican Council.’ ”
Under the threat of interdict, Bishop Daucourt enjoined our Father to retract all these accusations, to recognise “in the doctrine of the Council an expression of the true Catholic faith.” The bishop also ordered him to abandon the direction of the Communities, to reside in a place other than Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes and to cease all his activities, in particular the publication of the bulletin The Catholic Counter-Reformation.
Then, after a ‘simple’ monition, Bishop Daucourt resorted to a penal precept dated May 9, which he confirmed by issuing a decree on July 1, 1997. It renewed the suspension a divinis inflicted by Bishop Le Couëdic on August 25, 1966 and forbade our Father access to the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance, in the diocese of Troyes. To justify this action, the decree states that our Father had “provoked the faithful to protestation or hatred against the Apostolic See and the authority of the bishops and has thus created and does create grave scandal among the faithful, as much by his attitude as by his writings in which he obstinately denounces as stained with heresy certain texts promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, reproaching them for having introduced the religion of man who makes himself God in place of the authentic Catholic faith, and in which he brings accusations of heresy, schism and apostasy against the Council, the Pope and the bishops in communion with him, even lodging books of accusation against Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II.”
Our Father found himself in exactly, or almost exactly, the same situation that was his in 1966 with regard to Bishop Le Couëdic who ordered him to stop all his activities and leave the diocese of Troyes. There was but one difference: Bishop Daucourt gave the real reasons for his ‘condemnation’: our Father’s opposition to the reformation of the Church initiated by the Second Vatican Council.
NEW APPEAL TO ROME.
Our Father therefore decided to exercise hierarchical recourses against Bishop Daucourt’s penal precept of May 9 and the decree of July 1, 1997. In the final analysis, he was being condemned exclusively for his opposition to the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent teachings of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. It was not a question of defending his person, but of the freedom within the Church to profess the Catholic Faith.
Like the petition addressed to Cardinal Ottaviani on July 16, 1966, the recourses exercised by our Father in 1997 constituted the providential and canonical way offered to him by the Church to refer the doctrinal examination of all his criticisms of the Acts of the Second Vatican Council to the Roman Authority. As part of the official communication of the documents of the file, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was given the three Books of Accusation for heresy, schism and scandal of 1973, 1983 and 1993. Moreover, the suspensive effect attached to these appeals, in addition to the exemption from the penalties imposed on him, gave our Father the freedom to remain at the head of his Communities and to pursue all his activities, that is to say, the Catholic Counter-Reformation within the Church.
The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith categorically refused to open this doctrinal examination that the canonical sanctions enacted by Bishop Daucourt and especially the grounds he put forward to justify them required it to undertake. It was simply a question of placing Father de Nantes in the situation in which he found himself before Bishop Daucourt had ‘injudiciously’ meddled in this affair. Nothing more, nothing less! As though nothing had ever happened!
In a letter dated March 24, 1998, addressed to the Bishop of Troyes, Cardinal Bertone, on behalf of the Roman Dicastery, confirmed “for an indeterminate period of time, the measure of suspension a divinis adopted by you [Bishop Daucourt] with respect to this priest”. Thus there was no longer the prohibition of access “to the sacrament of the Eucharist and Penance in the diocese of Troyes.”
Furthermore, the very same cardinal substituted quite other motives for those that Bishop Daucourt had adopted to fulminate the canonical sanctions against our Father. It was no longer a question of his opposition to the Second Vatican Council, but: “Recently this Congregation has been informed that Father de Nantes – after having returned to the diocese of Troyes in disobedience to the measures taken by his Ordinary – continues, through his preaching, to spread erroneous doctrines consisting in a sensualist conception of the Eucharist and in the notion of a presumed ‘mystical marriage between Christ and Mary’. Furthermore, he has been accused of having taken the risk of translating such theories into moral conduct that is unacceptable for a priest.” Thus there were no longer our Father’s criticisms of the Acts of the Council and his accusations of heresy, schism and scandal against Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. There was no longer any question of all this.
All that remained for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to do was to invent a final lie in order to definitively seal its crime and rid itself of a file of which it wanted to know nothing, and this at all costs.
In fact, it went so far as to argue that it had intervened in in this case as a defender of the truth of the faith and the integrity of morals and not as a judge of offences against the faith and the most serious offences relating to morals and the celebration of the Sacraments. The Congregation then inferred from this that, in its letter of March 24, 1998 –for Bishop Daucourt’s information and personal guidance –, it had ostensibly limited itself to confirming him, exclusively in his negative judgement concerning Father de Nantes’ writings and activities! The argument is untenable.
The appeals that our Father had filed necessarily laid all these measures, including the penal ones, that Bishop Daucourt had taken against him, before the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Far from limiting itself to giving a simple opinion on his writings and activities, the Roman Dicastery confirmed with authority and for an indeterminate duration, the suspension ‘a divinis’ that was inflicted on our Father in 1966 and that Bishop Daucourt had renewed.
Yet, why on earth did it maintain, come hell or high water, that it had only rendered a simple opinion? Quite simply, because the aim was to neutralise the appeal that Father de Nantes had lodged before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. This tribunal is competent to rule on the decisions, in the canonical sense of the term, rendered by the various Roman Dicasteries, but not on what could be considered mere opinions. There you have it... except that...
If truly no decision had been rendered on the recourses exercised by Father de Nantes against the decrees that Bishop Daucourt had issued concerning him, and that was the Apostolic Signatura ruling, then one must come to the logical conclusion: our Father benefited from the suspensive effect of these recourses until the last breath of his life. He therefore passed away without being under any legitimate canonical sanction, as I wrote in the first lines of this letter.
Above all – and this is in fact what is important – at the end of all these canonical procedures, it is clear that no decision has been rendered, no doctrinal error identified, no canonical sanction imposed against our Father about his criticisms of the Acts of the Second Vatican Council and his accusations of heresy, schism and scandal against Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. As in 1969, this silence, a sign of the indecision on the part of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is negative proof of the truth of our Father’s accusations and of the Church’s indefectibility.
The last years of our Father’s life were years of great mystical fruitfulness. In particular, because of an intensified devotion, an ardent love for the Immaculate Conception. “For me, for us, it is now certain, it is a truth that will not pass away, that all those who burn with love for the Immaculate, with Eucharistic and Marian devotion, and in the service of all the causes that She supports are, by an extraordinary grace of the Most Holy Trinity, predestined, chosen and destined, through Her mediation, for the eternal Life of Heaven.” (August 20, 1997) A later retreat on the ‘Circumincessant charity’ was entirely biblical and relational. Its aim was to search for the Divine Geste revealed in the Holy Scriptures, in order to discover the secret of the Heart of God, which is to have, from the outset, conceived Her! This retreat was the occasion for our Father to prepare us to consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Conception, as pure instruments in Her hands.
It was the love of the Immaculate that gave our Father the spiritual strength necessary to face the last great trials, especially that of witnessing the aggravation of the illness of his Holy Mother Church. She was continuing to collapse in a ‘prodigious’ way, without the slightest perceptible sign, and therefore hope, of healing, recovery and even resurrection. Nevertheless, our Father’s virtue of hope never waned. From the year 2000 on, it was powerfully sustained by the third part of the great Secret that Our Lady had entrusted to Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta in Fatima on July 13, 1917, and that Pope John Paul II had published.
It is a Message in the form of a symbolic revelation, whereby the Blessed Virgin showed, in particular, the Holy Father climbing a steep mountain and passing through “a large city half in ruins and, half trembling, with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the summit of the mountain, falling on his knees at the foot of the large Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him [...].”
Our Father had worked throughout his life and with all his energies for the renewal of the Church, without ever achieving the slightest result, at least apparently; so he decided to rely totally on the Immaculate! It just so happened that She was revealing the person through whom She would accomplish the resurrection of the Church. Our Father, in fact, had the intuition that the holy Pope John Paul I, whose pontificate was so brief, was a figurative of the ‘Holy Father,’ the tragic destiny of whom Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta had been the privileged witnesses. This had a profound and powerful comforting effect on our Father. “With Her beautiful Secret, Our Lady has truly made us love, admire and revere this good Pastor, so good and so wise, overflowing with solicitude for his flock and already attracting all souls to himself that he might cure the world of its folly with his humour and sensitivity…”
Finally, our Father’s last trial was the ‘martyrdom’ of a long and painful disease, that of Parkinson’s, diagnosed on December 20, 2001. He calmly accepted the verdict: “I now know what awaits me,” he said at the time. The following year he explained: “It is really a death! Little by little, the brothers are replacing me for everything. Yet also, what a grace this close collaboration between us is.” He realised that he was losing his mind. He found it increasingly difficult to express himself and would gradually have to abandon all his innumerable and prodigious intellectual activities to remain in his sick chapel to fill this office, a very useful one, made of sacrifices and renunciations for the sole love of God and His Most Holy Mother. “The Good God wants this disease, the evolution of which is inexorable. It will be a great trial. But this trial is a grace...”
His soul seemed to be plunged into darkness. “I am searching for my lights,” he told me one day, it was on March 15, 2003. Indeed, throughout his life we had heard him say that he was assisted in speaking and writing by special lights, and we witnessed this. Since he had already given everything to us, he no longer needed his lights. He remained present among us, however, with all his resignation. This is what was the most beautiful! He contemplated the Blessed Virgin! As always, She gave him renewed courage. “By saying: ‘now and at the hour of our death…’ I meditate on my death, but my death is a single thing, a single act in my life, but an act of overwhelming importance. As for me, I am very fond of these last words of the Ave Maria because they end in advance the last Ave Maria that I wish to be my last prayer!”
It was in these spiritual dispositions that our Father gave up his beautiful soul to God on February 15, 2010, after six long years during which illness had deprived him of all his faculties of expression. He could no longer speak, no longer move, except for his eyes, thus allowing the beauty, goodness and intelligence of his countenance, of his expression never to be altered. On his sick bed our Father was living out what he had preached all his life: despite his state of dereliction, great humiliation and suffering, he showed unalterable patience and serenity, until his last breath for the salvation of souls to which he had consecrated and sacrificed all his life, thus conforming perfectly to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.
“THOUGH DEAD, HE STILL SPEAKS!”
Even silent, even dead, Father Georges de Nantes, our Founder, still speaks. In 2009, we published his writings brought back from his forced exile in Hauterive, under the title Vatican II Auto-da-fé to make this text available to our friends, to our small audience, to all those who are prepared to inquire about the truth. It is a cursive reading of the Acts of the Council written unrestrainedly, with a very lively and very caustic pen. It would lift the curtain on this mystification that this synod resembling a parliamentary assembly was. A spirit blew in it, that is all too certain, but which spirit?
The Church is our Mother. That is why we do not want, under any circumstances, to separate ourselves from her, and even less to aspire to save her. That is why, on the contrary, we want to embrace all her doctrine, to entrust ourselves to her prayer and her Sacraments, to submit ourselves to her holy, just and good discipline, in her sure and secular tradition. It is because she is our Mother that we, in turn, denounce and refuse, as our Father did, the very principle of a so-called permanent reformation of the Church that has been undertaken within her, conducted as forced marches, since the year 1965. The Council outrageously imposed on her its ‘opening to the world’ inevitably followed by the falsification of dogmas, a radical disorder in the sacred liturgy and the destruction of Catholic morality and law, a total break with the traditional Magisterium, whether ordinary or extraordinary, but always infallible.
In view of the fact that Father de Nantes’ public criticisms against the Acts of the Second Vatican Council and his accusations of heresy, schism and scandal against the subsequent teachings of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II have, in the final analysis and as such, resulted in no response, no doctrinal and still less canonical condemnation, we are justified in remaining in a state of legitimate suspicion and withdrawal of obedience vis-à-vis the architects and the accomplices of this reformation of the Church. This will be our stand until truth and justice are rendered, with charity and in accord with God, by dogmatic definitions accompanied by sanctions, pronounced by the Supreme Pontiff in person or by a reparatory Third Vatican Council for which we are hoping and praying. They will have to pronounce themselves with the full authority of their solemn Magisterium. This cult of man miserably associated with the worship of God, and this destructive permanent revolution of the one, holy Tradition, which is Catholic and apostolic will have to be judged according to the customs and laws of the Church
“Does this mean that we advocate a simple return to the past?” as our Father wrote in the introduction to a systematic preparation for a Third Vatican Council, a council of Catholic reconciliation.●
He answered to this question as follows: “To go back to the turning point of 1962, yes, but in order to find the right direction in order to push ahead and make up for lost time. The questions debated are new, at least in part, and they oblige us to resolve difficulties that were unknown to the Ancients. Our Catholicism, therefore, will have to make both theological and institutional progress, and there it will find its proper form and character for the 20th century [the 21st century], but in continuity with previous epochs and generations. We have no desire to “return” to Vatican I, nor to the Council of Trent, nor to that of Nicaea! 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 that have stood the Church in good stead throughout the centuries. In doing this, however, it will mark an advance and will define the forms of today’s Catholicism. The Church will emerge from this formidable trial, as always, stronger, more beautiful, holier and more conquering than ever.”●
It was in this perspective that our Father paved the way towards a wise, prodigious, scholarly and exciting “reform of the reform” in all the disciplines of our holy, unique and true religion, whether they be theological, exegetical, mystical, metaphysical, philosophical, moral or even political and historical.
Let me give you an idea of the scope: a study on a kerygmatic theology, a return to the frank proclamation of the Word of God on which the Apostles founded the Church after Pentecost, led our Father to prepare a mystical aesthetic, the focus of which was “the pursuit of an open and practicable way to God, for a union with God that is possible, meaningful and sure.” In order to acquire a greater understanding of what our Father called our ‘high ground,’ he undertook to relate the history of the great crises of the Church from which he drew lessons for an “intelligent traditionalism” that he immediately put into practice in a study of the Sacraments. Father Congar publicly praised the value of this study that was presented when the controversy over the ‘new Mass’ was raging, inflaming hearts and especially passions. The members of the Doctrinal Commission, on the contrary, were apparently unable to derive any benefit from it. So much the worse for them!
Upon entering dogmatic theology in the seminary, our Father received a light on the notion of the person that would illuminate his whole life. This led him to reorganise all human knowledge by defining the privileged being that is the human person by his relations of origin. It is a question of demonstrating to man that he is not the centre of the universe nor its end, that he himself is not his own finality. Being only a creature of I am, he is called by Him to fulfil himself and to save himself by being inseparably bound with his human brothers, in the Body of Christ to the praise of the Glory of God. Such would be the challenge of this relational metaphysics of our Father. This metaphysics developed into an apologetic demonstration that describes the order of the universe in the light of this certainty of the Presence of God, acting constantly in His creation in order to bring it into being and to direct its development according to a divine “orthodromy.” Our Father thus examined universal history to seek its axial force: from the big bang of the origins to the Revelation of Jesus Christ in which God declares His love, to the foundation of the Church, and to the return of the whole creation to God in Her and through Her, in love.
In short, it is a teaching drawn from the treasures of the Church and entirely devoted to her service and even available to her when the clock at Saint Peter’s strikes the hour of the Counter-Reformation, of the Catholic Renaissance. Until then, this prodigious work that our Father has left in deposit for us, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and which we must make fruitful, commits us to love more than anything the Good God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary and the Church.
You must realise, however, Your Excellency, that our Communities, even forsaken in the last place, even bereft of any canonical status and living simply under the authority of a provisional rule written in 1957, never make those who want to follow us in our fight for the Counter-Reformation lose faith in the Church. On the contrary, these Communities strengthen their love, their admiration for the Church, and not only for the Church of the past. Furthermore they dissuade them from letting this Reformation drive them to despair, to the temptation of abandoning all religious practice or of taking refuge in integrist chapels. Our Communities, through the regularity of our religious life, through prayer and through the teachings of our Father, help them to maintain a supernatural trust in the Church and her legitimate pastors. On all occasions, and despite our dispute on doctrinal matters, we take part in all liturgical or parish services celebrated by ministers of religion in communion with the local Ordinary and we ask our friends to do the same by remaining ‘faithful’ to their parishes, to their priests, to whom many of them do not hesitate to devote themselves for the sole concern of serving the Church.
Excellency, it seems to me that I have written to you the essentials about both the ‘de Nantes affair’ and the best place, that is to say the last, that the Communities of the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Phalangist Communion forming their Third Order intend to hold, in the midst of the Church. I would like to conclude this letter by sharing with you the joy of learning about the three prophetic signs given by the Church and which will impart a shower of graces and mercies for souls who want to make their way to God.
TOWARDS THE TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
The first sign is that of Father Charles de Foucauld’s canonisation. Our Father, writing about him, explained to his first brothers in a letter dated November 11, 1961 that “his heart burned with a new and passionate love of Jesus. This love is not human, but angelical, by its simplicity, its strength and its purity, because it would not be nourished by anything earthly. Therein lays the mystery of this soul. In an instant he fulfilled the loftiest requirements of Christian holiness. There is but one Beloved, one Unique Model, to Whom one must surrender without searching for any other. There are no inquisitive speculations, no remarkable intellectual works in which others absorb themselves in arid contemplation! There is no imaginative inclination for exciting forms of life or brilliant feats. There is nothing but Jesus, Whose humble and gentle presence in the Host was the whole raison d’être of his poor servant, Charles de Foucauld, the slave redeemed at the price of blood! »
Second sign: the beatification of Pope John Paul I. The day after his tragic death in the night of September 28 to 29, 1978, our Father wrote: “No one disputes that everything was holy during those thirty-three days; it is edifying and consoling and how sweet to reflect on today. From this drawing of the Way of the Cross that Cardinal Felici offered to him, on the evening of Friday, August 26 until the night of September 28, when, his hour having come, his hand was found resting on his bedside book, the Imitation of Jesus Christ, henceforth of no further use. Between those two days there was the charity of his continual self-giving to the Church for “in her alone is found salvation; sine illa peritur! Without her, we perish!” (speech of August 27) The charity was in his smile and also in the agony of his heart as he confessed two days earlier to some children who were dreaming of becoming Pope, like him! “Children, the Cross of Christ is truly too heavy [...].”
“For my part, I interpret the death of John Paul I as a holocaust accepted by God for the salvation of His Church and the peace of the world. Similarly, that other mysterious death, that of the Patriarch of Leningrad [Msgr. Nikodim] who collapsed in the office and died in the very arms of the Pope, who absolved him, appears to me as a prophetic sign of Russia’s conversion through the return of the Communists to the true faith and the reunion of the Eastern schismatics with the Roman Church. For Nikodim was a Communist and a K.G.B. agent who, through grace, became a fervent Orthodox and was so caught in the game of his international functions that he ardently desired this Christian unity, which God allowed him to live in his death and which put the seal of authenticity on his last words – words of love for the Church!
“There is nothing terrifying in such deaths. On the contrary they speak of the divine mercy and of that time of peace, which Heaven will grant the world at the prayer of the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the conversion of Russia and the renaissance and universal expansion of the Roman Catholic faith in the great labour of the Sun [Jesus Christ].”●
Finally, the third and last sign: the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on March 25, by Pope Francis in union with the bishops of the whole world. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady had announced in Fatima that she would ask for it, and it is what She then did on June 13, 1929 in Tuy with Her confidant, Sister Lucy: “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted and a certain period of peace will be given to the world.”
Please accept, Excellency, my respectful and devoted wishes, and deign grant your paternal blessing to all the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart,
Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary
Letter to the Phalange no. 59 of September 21, 1996, p. 2.
Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 292, January 1997, pp. 1-2.
He Is Risen n 62 b Vatican II, Auto-da-fe, “De Ecclesia”... “Lumen Gentium”
Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 292, January 1997, p. 2.
The Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 51, December 1971, p. 7, only in French; or summarised in The Catholic Counter-Reformation no.°23, January 1972
The Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 51, December 1971, p. 7, only in French; or summarised in The Catholic Counter-Reformation no.°23, January 1972
The Catholic Counter-Reformation no. 103, October 1978, p. 2-3