AGAINST THE SCHISMATIC DRIFT
6. The Book of accusation against Paul VI
“ MAY God give us a good Catholic Pope before three years are up. ”1 Such was the wish publicly expressed by Fr. de Nantes in January 1970, at a time when Paul VI was implacably imposing the march of his Reform upon the whole world and it was becoming “ evident and visible to all that the Pope and the bishops were, collegially, the conscious and responsible authors of this series of aggressions against the faith of the Church, against the Eucharistic Christ and against God. It was an appeal for God’s aid, an appeal to His faithfulness and His mercy, that He might either touch the heart of the Sovereign Pontiff or remove him from his see ”2...
Now, three years later, in January 1973, the heart of Paul VI did not seem to have changed. This Pontiff was still reigning on the throne of Peter and God had not “ deprived him of his office and transferred it to someone more worthy. It is therefore necessary ”, wrote Fr. de Nantes, “ that we now undertake to do with the aid of God what God has not wished to do without us. To pray, to entreat, to groan for the deliverance of the Church, even to suffer frightfully for her sake and at her own hands, is no longer enough. We must now attempt the ultimate step, which lies within our competence and our duty. We must go to Rome to make a personal remonstrance against the Pope for the heresy, schism and scandal for which he himself is primarily responsible.
“ Therefore, we will make this journey, despite our obvious unworthiness, simply being astonished that so many of those who are filled with wisdom and learning, virtue and holiness, should not have stood up before us, should not have been chosen and sent by Our Lord in preference to us.
“ We will go to Rome, a small group of priests, religious and leaders of our League circles. And a thousand Catholics, whose solemn commitment our diocesan circle leaders will communicate to us, will morally accompany us in order that a substantial part of the faithful may be associated with our appeal through this symbolic number. These thousand volunteers will form our ‘ Roman Legion ’. They will join us in signing the Libellus of accusation which we will take to Rome. ”3
REQUEST FOR AN AUDIENCE WITH THE HOLY FATHER
Furthermore, in this same number of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 20th century for January 1973, Fr. de Nantes published the letter which he had addressed to the Sovereign Pontiff, the successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Jesus Christ, to ask him for an audience and to explain to him the purpose of the complaint he had decided to make.
Here is the complete text of this letter dated January 1, 1973 :
† Jesus !
Most Holy Father,
I have the honour to request an audience with Your Holiness, during Lent if this is convenient to you, for myself your very unworthy servant and son, two brothers from my Community, a priest who is my fellow-worker, and a group of circle leaders and regional organisers of the League of the CATHOLIC COUNTER-REFORMATION, all of whom represent the active members of this League, and, by express delegation, a thousand of them who wished to be associated with our initiative.
This is in order to place within your hands, Most Holy Father, a libellus of accusation directed against the Words and the Actions of Your Holiness which appear to us, sadly but in all certitude, to have been marked for a long time and quite unmistakably with all the characteristics of heresy, schism and scandal.
We intend to request, as is our canonical right, that, against the acts and opinions of your free and fallible and Person which have appeared to us for almost ten years now to be the principal and underlying cause of the Church’s ‘ auto-demolition ’, you should bring to bear the sovereign judgement of your own personal Magisterium, which is infallible in matters of doctrine and against which there is no appeal in any question of ecclesiastical discipline. For if we have the obligation to listen to and respect the Pope, then we have first of all the sacred and supreme right to have a Catholic Pope.
We trust that Your Holiness will receive us, even if only with the thought of enlightening our minds and touching our hearts by giving us the necessary explanations and assurances. We must insist, however, that Your Holiness cannot evade this duty and refuse – either by inaction or procrastination – to proclaim the Faith and the Law as He is requested, without committing ipso facto a gross abuse of authority. We would therefore have to consider such a refusal to be equivalent to an abdication and we would have to refer the difficulty to the Roman Clergy, whose responsibility it would then become to open a lawsuit of a kind which falls under its exclusive competence.
We consider to be null and void any so-called ‘ disqualification ’ or any sanction that might be brought against us (which we have already been the victim of in the past) on account of the accusation brought against your Person, until such time as you give your solemn Judgement on the essence of our complaint. But we also accept in advance the sanction that Your Sovereign Justice might bring against us, and which could not be anything less than excommunication, if our charges should prove to be without foundation. But we have no fear of this, for the Truth of the Lord remains for ever, and against it until the Last Day will be shattered the opinions and daydreams of the Innovators, friends of this World and accomplices of Satan.
While we await a sovereign decision from Your Holiness, we wish to express our ardent hope of seeing unity and peace flourishing once more in the Church, under the guidance of Shepherds who shall themselves have returned to that obedience of the faith without which no one can be pleasing to God. The Pope who, having listened to us, shall deign to speak to us the Words of Eternal Life again, will once more find us unfailingly submissive in his Person to Jesus Christ, the Infallible Master of all Truth and Goodness.
May the Shepherd of the flock give his blessing to this the most wretched member of his Holy Church, even as the latter, constrained by the Spirit, is addressing this remonstrance to our Common Father for the good of his soul, for the service of the Church and for the honour of God.
I am your Holiness’ most humble servant,
Georges de Nantes, priest.
Maison Saint-Joseph, 10 260 Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes, France.4
Fr. de Nantes handed this letter in to the archdiocesan office in Troyes, on January 2, in order that it would be passed to Rome through hierarchical channels. The archdiocesan office despatched it on January 5 for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Villot, Secretary of State.
At the beginning of January a copy of the document was also handed to the nuncio in Paris by a member of the League.
VARIOUS REACTIONS IN THE PRESS
On January 16, Fr. de Nantes was the guest on France-Inter’s radio programme “ Radioscopy ”. In the course of a very frank conversation with the courteous Jacques Chancel, he candidly explained his appeal to Rome, something clearly of extraordinary and dramatic interest.
“ It is distressing ”, he confided to Chancel, “ it is frightening, it is daunting to be obliged to criticise one’s own Father. ”
– Fr. Georges de Nantes, let us look on the dark side of things. With everything you are doing,
– No, that’s impossible !
– But if you were, what about the discipline of the Church ?
– I say that it is impossible. However, suppose that I were punished with some sanction. Then I would hold my peace. The good God would have released me from the horrible task of lecturing my superiors. I claim that it is impossible because I continue to say today what all the Popes of times past, all the saints and all the doctors of the Church, have said.
– You have an immense faith. One needs an immense faith to obey God rather than men.
– It is a gift. I believe that it is a gift.
The discussion met with a favourable response from the general public, as Fr. de Nantes came third in the listing of the journal “ Mini-cassettes Informations ” for the number of programme cassettes ordered : Alain Mimoun came first, Arthur Rubinstein second and, immediately after sport and music, came the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.5 But, curiously, despite the interest this conversation had aroused, it was not transmitted a second time on France-Inter.
After this broadcast, our Father recounts, “ a flood of letters, between one hundred and one hundred and fifty per day until the end of the month, allowed me in my turn to ‘ radioscope ’ the people of France. It was another kind of opinion poll. There were scarcely twenty letters in a thousand which took offence; the rest were extraordinarily moving and came from people happy to have heard a priest according to their own heart. Around fifty said they disagreed with our criticism of the Holy Father. And the most touching letter of all ? that of a lady who had listened in from Turkey, which Cardinal Marty was kind enough to pass on to me, sending it opened ! through hierarchical channels. But I am very pleased that the Cardinal read it before it reached me. It will have interested him ! ”6
There is no doubt that this interview with Jacques Chancel helped to advertise the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and its circulation steadily increased during that year of 1973 : it rose from 36,000 to 38,000 copies.
But let us not be under any illusion. Our Father continued to be gravely maligned. For instance, on January 31, at midday Jean Bourdarias announced on France-Inter that Fr. de Nantes would certainly be leaving the Church soon.7 However, on the very same day, Louis Salleron quoted in extenso, in the periodical Carrefour, Fr. de Nantes’ letter to Pope Paul VI, and his commentary was rather favourable.
It is true that Henri Fesquet was resolutely opposed to the traditionalism of Fr. de Nantes, which he said was tied to “ a certain type of fixist theology ”8. Nevertheless, the journalist of Le Monde did not deny the value of the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation’s reasoning : “ His logic is implacable ”8. And he briefly but objectively described his appeal to Rome.8
On the other hand, a few weeks later, André Frossard would travesty this appeal derisively in his column in the Figaro, “ The Lone Crusader ” :
“ In the name of the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Fr. Georges de Nantes solicits an audience with the Holy Father, for the express purpose of accusing him of ‘ heresy ’, ‘ schism ’ and ‘ scandal ’. And so, in a moment of angst, an incensed reader invited the editor of the Figaro to meet him at the Montparnasse metro station to give him an ear bashing about all this. In the same letter, the Pope is warned that any refusal on his part to receive his judge and to condemn himself as his infallibility requires, would be seen as an effective ‘ abuse of authority ’ and a virtual act of ‘ resignation ’, something which the clergy of Rome would have to be immediately apprised of. Whereupon Fr. de Nantes signs off by declaring himself the Holy Father’s ‘ most humble servant ’. Which leaves us wondering just how much more of his discontent he would have displayed if he were not. ”9
Fr. de Nantes replied to him in a lapidary style : “ Monsieur, I do not claim to judge the Pope. Careless minds have created this error and evil minds peddle it. ”10. Then, to confound Frossard, all he needed to do was to recall in a few aphorisms the principles and the doctrine that he had continued to teach ever since he had entered into public opposition with Paul VI in 1964.
THE ULTIMATE RECOURSE :
“ I APPEAL TO THE POPE AGAINST THE POPE. ”
Whilst waiting for an official reply from the Pope to his request for an audience, Fr. de Nantes explained to his readers, in his leading article for February, “ The Ultimate Recourse ”, the legitimate and canonical nature of his accusation.
“ ‘ None may judge the Pope. The Pope is judge of all and can be judged by no one ! ’ This maxim, taken from the Decree of Gratian11, confounds any criticism, any thought of resistance on the part of the faithful, even in the minds of priests, bishops and cardinals ! It is as though the Pope were an absolute monarch, as though he were not himself, he primarily and more than anyone else, subject to Jesus Christ, a member of the faithful bound by the revealed faith whose teaching he has received and whose deposit he must guard ! His infallibility is certain in the exercise of his solemn Magisterium. His fallibility is certain in the far more extensive domain of his personal opinions and private wishes.
“ It is essential to read the Decree of Gratian right to the end : ‘ Hujus culpas istic redarguere praesumat mortalium nullus, quia cunctos ipse judicaturus a nemine est judicandus, nisi reprehendatur a fide devius, Let no mortal being have the audacity to reprimand a Pope on account of his faults, for he whose duty it is to judge all men cannot be judged by anybody, unless he should be called to task for having deviated from the faith. ’ (Ia, dist. XL, C. 6, Si papa; ex Gestis Bonifacii martyris)
“ The great Innocent III comments on this, applying it humbly to himself : ‘ For me the faith is so necessary that, whereas for other sins my only judge is God, for the slightest sin committed in the matter of the faith I could be judged by the Church. ’ (Serm. Consecrat. Pontif. rom., P. L. CCXVII, col. 656). This is a common doctrine in the Church and one which the First Vatican Council confirmed.
“ Yet we must be precise about this. There is no question of the faithful judging the secret intentions of the Pope, of probing his heart. Nor for that matter is it permissible to publicly discuss the private behaviour of the Holy Father, since even with regard to the most lowly of men that is a sin. And there is another domain where no one may arrogate to himself the right to judge the Pope, that is in his government. In this domain, although he is fallible, his authority is sovereign. Therefore, if our conscience should see a formal opposition between the law of God and the Pope’s decisions, we must disobey his orders, but we must also accept the sanctions which he should see fit to inflict on us and not contest his authority. And if his pastoral approach is ruinous, if his plans endanger the very life of the Church, our only response will be to pray and do penance, that the Lord may personally reprehend him or happily deliver the Church from his hands.
“ There remain his public acts and words, which in our cautious but confident estimation constitute an encouragement to schism and heresy, nay a declared state of schism and heresy by the Pope himself. Here, we have a duty to rise up against him. To condemn him ? No. To judge him ? No again. But to accuse him, that is to say to denounce him to the competent Judge, to provide evidence for the charges we make, and to be prepared to explain our contestation, whilst leaving the decision to the Justice of the Church. Every member of the faithful has the right and the duty to protest, but only the Sovereign Judge has the power and the right of deciding.
“ But in matters of the faith who can be the Pope’s Judge ? Who is able to represent the Church which, according to Innocent III, has the right to judge the Pope ? Might it be God Himself ? Certainly not, for then it would not be a question of the Church. Might it be the Council ? No, no and no. This theory of the superiority of the Council over the Pope has for too long poisoned the life and order of the Church; the Magisterium has rejected it for ever. Who then ? To this long unanswered question, Vatican I replied by its very definition of the infallibility of the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra on matters of the faith. He is infallible through his solemn Magisterium precisely in that unique domain where we have the duty to accuse him in law for his private opinions if we deem them heretical. So who will judge the Pope in such a case ? Why, the Pope himself ! Who is authorised to ask him to pass such a judgement on himself and, even if he were to permit it, obliged and compelled to initiate this trial ? His own clergy of Rome, the clergy of this principal Church, the Mother and Mistress of all the Churches. Similarly, it would be the duty of this prestigious Clergy to take note of the Pope’s resignation and spiritual death were he to refuse to accept his duty to act as supreme Judge in his own cause.
“ There is therefore an ecclesiastical solution to the formidable ecclesiastical crisis provoked by any uncertainty and debate about the Pope’s faith. It is the Achilles heel of the papacy, but there is a remedy to this ill...
“ Before the whole Catholic Church we accuse Pope Paul VI, our brother in the faith, of heresy, schism and scandal. We confine ourselves to the facts, to his public and well known words and decisions.
“ Perhaps we have made a mistake about his person. Perhaps we have misheard or misunderstood him. Perhaps they are straightforward material errors on the Pope’s part. Perhaps the error was deliberate, but was a sincere attempt at achieving a great good he hoped for. Such speculation is idle. Whatever seems possible may just as easily turn out not to be the case. Neither we nor the Church know anything about such matters. We must be clear in our mind about this, for the evil errors spreading from Rome, apparently contemplated, willed and imposed by the Pope, rightly or wrongly, are wreaking immense spiritual destruction which must be brought to an end, in the name of Christ !
“ So our accusation will have useful consequences if it proves to be well founded. In that case, the Pope would have to retract or to resign. But it will have happier consequences still if it provides Paul VI with the opportunity to reveal his true thoughts and his exact wishes, in opposition to the errors and appalling disorders that are everywhere attributed to him.
“ In this trial, the whole Church has everything to gain, and no one more so than His Holiness Paul VI, whether he be guilty or innocent. ”12
PUTTING THE POPE ON TRIAL ?
CAN IT EVER BE LAWFUL OR HOLY TO OPPOSE THE POPE ?
On March 1, in the Hall of the Mutualité in Paris, Fr. de Nantes will deal in a clear and exhaustive way with the question of the theoretical legitimacy of his accusation of heresy, schism and scandal against Pope Paul VI.
It would be advisable to listen to the recording of this theology lecture13, or else to read the transcription which appeared a few months later in the CRC14. This exposition and this text, a masterpiece of clarity, prudence and moderation in it analysis, constitutes “ the essential preface ” of the Liber accusationis because it provides it with its unanswerable theological justification : “ Putting the Pope on trial ? Can it ever be lawful or holy to oppose the Pope ? ”
Such a study “ goes far beyond the study of the rules of canon law; it it not catered for by the theology of hierarchical authority. It takes as its source the mystical springs of the faith. For the Church, in her essential mystery, is the Spouse of Christ, His social Body. As such, nothing is dearer to the Saviour than her unshakeable establishment, her preservation, her security, her growth, her unity and her peace. For this reason, Christ gave her His Body and Blood, as well as His Holy Spirit to give life to these sacramental gifts. The Holy Spirit is thus, by divine ‘ Mission ’, the soul of the Church : it is He who, as God, unifies, organises and develops this social body and maintains it in unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity, those miraculous perfections which are proper to it. ”
“ One further clarification of Catholic theology on this divine institution : the Holy Spirit’s instrument for this work in the midst of men is the hierarchy. It thus enjoys in a special measure, in accordance with the very precise conditions of its role, the power of the Holy Spirit for the perfection of the Church. That is why the Church is infallible, holy and well ordered. ”14
Before taking a look at some of this study’s salient conclusions, let us succinctly describe its general approach by presenting the principal stages of the demonstration.
Part one : The supreme authority of the Pope. The powers of the successors of the Apostles. Definition, scope and limits. Ordinary magisterium, extraordinary magisterium, and fallible teaching of the private man.
Part two : Concerning a Pope who is heretical, schismatic, scandalous.
Can a Pope be heretical ? With theological proofs to hand, Fr. de Nantes replies : “ Yes, outside of his ex cathedra (solemn) teaching and outside of his ordinary magisterium, when he ceases to repeat what the Church’s unanimous tradition holds to have been revealed, and therefore when he speaks as a private theologian, a pope can fall into heresy. ”
As for the historical evidence, it turns on a small number of cases. Fr. de Nantes, let us stress, was careful not to over-emphasise the importance of these. It is true that “ several Popes were confused and led into error in matters of the faith, and even persisted so far as to condemn the upholders of orthodoxy, sometimes with a certain solemnity. We must remember, however, that such cases can be counted on the fingers of one hand. ”
Five popes – Liberius, Vigilius, Boniface IV, Honorius I and John XXII – failed in their duty to uphold the purity and integrity of the faith or, to be more exact, the firmness of their Magisterium, and this for a short period of their pontificate, on some particular and obscure point of doctrine, often from diplomacy and a desire to keep the peace rather than from any formal heresy. In other words, “ out of 263 popes and almost twenty centuries of history, papal heresy does not exist ! Or only just enough to show that such a thing is possible.
“ Finally, can a Pope be accused of heresy ? We can understood, after this historical survey, why a number of theologians – inconsistently with the truth – have maintained that such a case, albeit theoretically possible, is practically impossible. This is contradictory. We will conclude in a more logical manner that such a situation is of a maximum improbability. It is therefore the last hypothesis to be envisaged when all the others have proved to be inadequate. When there remains no other solution, when all the evidence unites and converges, faith is not shaken, nor hope quenched, nor charity wounded when we say : our Pope is heretical.
“ Once a member of the faithful is firmly convinced that the Pope is heretical, he is bound to accuse him openly. For from the day that he inwardly rebels against the Pope, he is in rupture with the Head of the Church and, if he is wrong, he is in peril of damnation. If he keeps quiet, out of fear or respect, but persists in his secret revolt, he silently damns himself ! If he is right, his charity towards the Church makes it his duty to warn his brothers. In any hypothesis, he must speak out ! ”15
The third part of this study deals with the steps to be taken against a Pope who is heretical, schismatic and scandalous. Fr. de Nantes showed that there existed a modern solution, made possible by the definition of papal infallibility during the First Vatican Council : The Church must appeal to the infallible Pope against the fallible Pope. “ When the Pope speaks ex cathedra, he enjoys the absolute assistance of the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing him against any error or malice. ”16
THE THREE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES
OF THE POPE’S TRIAL FOR HERESY
To conclude his theology lecture at the Mutualité on that March 1, 1973, Fr. de Nantes envisaged three possible outcomes for a heresy trial brought against the Pope.
“ Firstly, a new definition of the faith. This would be the most glorious outcome for the Pope, as he would prove that he had been wrongfully accused. His accuser would be nonsuited. The Pope would repeat, this time in the form of a solemn ex cathedra pronouncement, what he had taught before in an authentic but ordinary manner, teachings which his opponent had challenged. The latter and his followers would then have to submit and recant under pain of excommunication for formal heresy.
“ Let us illustrate this by an example. Paul VI had authorised the giving of Holy Communion to a Presbyterian. The opponent claims that such a decree is contrary to the faith and divine laws of the Church. The tribunal would have to establish that the facts had been correctly stated, that it was not a misunderstanding or some other accidental and insignificant confusion, but a genuine conflict between two interpretations of the revealed faith. Were the Pope to give intercommunion a theological foundation drawn from Revelation and in accord with Tradition, and were he to pronounce this doctrine ex cathedra, then everyone would have to bow before his decision.
“ Secondly, a retraction by the Pope. That the Pope should recant, now there is something truly impossible, my reader will perhaps exclaim. In that case, he is either speaking without reflection or lacking in faith. For if a Pope, after a grave error, is faced with the alternative of either confessing the unchanging Catholic faith and therefore admitting his error, or else of denying the Catholic faith to persist in his own view, it is possible, it is even highly probable that the Pope would recant. History counts five heretical popes and they all recanted !
“ It is essential to act firmly against an heretical Pope, but at the same time we must pray for him and for the Church. For once a major trial has been brought against the Pope for heresy, schism or scandal, it could end, for the greater glory of God and the inestimable benefit of the Church, with the Pope making an act of retraction, a sublime example of humility and obedience to God.
“ Thirdly, the formal establishment of the Pope’s defection. The Pope could refuse to listen to his accuser. ‘ Must he show himself here ? Shut the doors on him. I do not wish to listen to him. ’ So the matter could be deferred and drag on for a while. Others will then take up the accusation. One day the Pope will find himself summoned by his own clergy to reply. ‘ No, I do not wish to reply ’. Then the Church of Rome will have to take formal note of this refusal, this abuse of authority : the Pope does not wish to exercise his supreme Magistrature !
“ But perhaps the process will commence with a series of procrastinations. The Pope hums and haws. He is therefore pressed, a role which his own Church, the Church of Rome, is qualified to exercise. He is summoned to abandon his deliberate inertia : ‘ The world is waiting for you to settle this question. You cannot stay silent, you must assume your role as Supreme Judge. ’ If he again refuses to heed his Church, ultimate measures will have to be envisaged.
“ The Church of Rome will then have to threaten the Pope with deposition. In such a summons, it is the Pope’s own conduct, his repeated refusal to exercise his responsibilities, that constitutes abdication. His deposition by the Church is no more than a consequence of this. The sentence of deposition would thus be the canonical conclusion of the formal recognition of the Pope’s resignation. The Church of Rome will then declare the Apostolic See vacant and she will call a conclave to elect a successor. This is a matter of self-preservation, for she cannot do without a Head, a Sovereign who teaches with infallible authority, who judges and punishes, who assures peace and unity. The Church cannot remain for any length of time – to use the term applied to the Republic by Marcel Sembat – ‘ a headless woman ’.
“ Inevitably, the memory of a heretical Pope would fade from people’s minds. ”17
However, Fr. de Nantes informed his audience that humanly speaking his conflict with Paul VI appeared to him irremediable. For two reasons :
“ The case of Paul VI is no longer comparable to that of the very small number of his predecessors who temporarily fell into heresy. They were mistaken on one particular issue and did not stick fiercely to their opinion. Above all, they did not believe that, in maintaining their views, they were bringing the Church a new revelation and thus effecting a wonderful revolution. They were not ‘ prophets ’ of a new Church for a new world.
“ Whereas we are accusing Paul VI of introducing into the Church’s veins the poison of a vast system which disfigures the whole of Revelation and fundamentally corrupts our religion. We observe that he has engaged his whole soul and the whole power of his Pontificate in this total mutation of the Church. Truly, the like of this has never been seen before.
“ And this revolution takes place in the conciliar context of the Church’s total subservience to the arbitrary will of a party whose Head is the Pope. The Roman Curia has been reordered and infiltrated by international traitors; Rome is surrendered to an occult Power which paralyses her. The local Churches, the religious orders, all are subjected to the permanent espionage of veritable political commissars, and the collegial forms of the new power render any reaction via legal and official channels impossible. Paul VI’s party, thanks to the pact of the Conciliar Reform, holds the Church prisoner. ”18
In his terrible conflict with Paul VI, in this extraordinary drama, wholly without precedent in the history of the Church, the only weapons of the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation were “ the faith and the law of the Church ”. Now, at the end of this masterly study on the theoretical legitimacy and practical necessity of drawing up an accusation of heresy, schism and scandal against Pope Paul VI, he declared “ that there is no example in history where the faith and law of the Church have not finally won through ”18.
FR. DE NANTES INFORMS CARDINAL VILLOT
THAT HE WILL CALL AT THE PORTONE DI BRONZO ON APRIL 10
As Pope Paul VI had failed to reply to his request for an audience, Fr. de Nantes addressed the following letter on March 1 to His Eminence Cardinal Villot, Secretary of State :
The office of the Bishop of Troyes has been informed by the Vatican and French postal services that my letter to the Holy Father has been passed to Your Eminence. The acknowledgment of receipt was signed by your confidential assistant, Mr. Montidoni, and is dated January 8. I presume that the latter was not so dishonest as to mislay or destroy this document, so I must obviously believe that Your Eminence transmitted it without delay to its August Addressee. This letter did in fact require a certain diligence, formulating as it did a request for an audience during the time of Lent. Two months have now passed, Lent is drawing near, and we have not yet received any response either from Your Eminence or the Holy Father. During this time, well over a thousand people have readily associated themselves with our appeal and numerous leaders of Catholic Counter-Reformation circles have decided to accompany us to Rome on the day fixed by the Vatican.
For a multitude of faithful Catholics whose numbers are growing daily, it represents an ultimate appeal to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, in the person of His Vicar on earth the Sovereign Pontiff, for the manifestation and defence of the Truth of the Gospel, for the communion of all Christians in the one true Charity, and for the restoration of the Holiness of the Church in her Head and in her members. After ten years of heresy, schism and scandal, time is pressing and, far more importantly than time, the salvation of souls : Caritas Christi urget nos !
We cannot before God abandon the idea of placing this complaint, of which Our Holy Father is the object, into the hands of His Holiness, the sovereign and universal Judge of all divine causes. We can no longer draw back without appearing to have recanted and to have voluntarily repudiated our accusation. Nor would we wish to do so. Neither for that matter can the Pope refuse to hear this complaint raised against him without openly appearing to admit that he is guilty and unable to defend himself, and, in confessing himself at a loss, seeing himself convicted of an abuse of authority. When the Pope is publicly accused, even by the most unworthy and most lowly member of Holy Church, of heresy, schism and scandal, such proceedings cannot but become a Case which brings into question His honour, His authority as Pope, His very legitimacy as the Supreme Head of the Church. To block the manifestation of the Truth, even to delay it through inertia, obstructive procedures and condemnations, would only serve to confirm the accusation. The Pope must respond, he must pass judgment. It is important that we are received since, to borrow a phrase from the aforementioned libellus of accusation, one of the two parties is no longer Catholic if the other party still is.
Since we need a clear timetable in order to make our material preparations for the journey, we are obliged, Eminence, given the silence of the Holy Father and the inertia shown by your administration in replying to us, to fix ourselves the day and the hour of our appearance at the gates of the Vatican palace. Would your Eminence therefore be so kind as to inform the Sovereign Pontiff that Fr. de Nantes and several members of his community, Fr. de Linares and a substantial group of circle leaders and members of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, will present themselves – for the purpose of handing him their book of accusation against his Person for heresy, schism and scandal, and to petition and entreat him to put an end to all this for the good of the Church with all the authority of his Sovereign and Supreme Magisterium – at the Bronze Gate on Tuesday April 10 of this year 1973 at 10 o’clock in the morning.
Please accept Your Eminence the expression of my religious respect,
Georges de Nantes.
From our Maison Saint-Joseph, Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes.19
This letter reached its destination on March 5, as confirmed by the mail service. After that the days will pass by and Fr. de Nantes will receive no reply from the Vatican : “ Which signifies ”, he will remark on March 12, “ either the total contempt in which we are held or the embarrassment caused by the news of our suit. Whatever be the case, it is clear that there are certain accusations which a Father, which a Head, which the Vicar of Jesus Christ cannot openly receive without his being obliged to reply. Our task is to take this accusation to his door. In this we will not fail. ”20
THE LIBER ACCUSATIONIS IN PAULUM SEXTUM
During the month of March 1973, literally overwhelmed by the task, Fr. de Nantes will draw up his Liber accusationis 21. On the 12th, when he was just about to embark on this difficult labour, he recommended himself to the prayers of his friends : “ It is beyond my capacity and my strength. But someone has to undertake this task. Pray to God that this work may, at any rate, serve to manifest His divine Truth. Nothing else will occupy my attention this month and for that reason I must not be disturbed by anyone. If I am deluding myself, may God pardon and enlighten me. But if I see things clearly, may He allow me to expound everything in a sober and convincing manner. Veni Sancte Spiritus... Ave Maria ! ”22
Two weeks later, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his priestly ordination and first Mass on March 27 and 28, Fr. de Nantes had completed his task : the Liber was written. It was a book of one hundred pages, unique in the annals of the Church.
The title page of Liber could well form the subject of long and learned theological commentaries as it contains an exact definition of the authority and office of the Pope. The charges of the plaintiff are also laid out clearly. But let us read it for ourselves :
“ To our Holy Father Pope Paul VI, by the grace of God and the law of the Church, sovereign Judge of all Christ’s faithful, a complaint against our brother in the faith, Pope Paul VI, on account of heresy, schism and scandal. ”
The Liber represents the accuser’s indictment and the author straightway declares how conscious he is of his audacity, his temerity :
“ Who am I to stand up against Your Holiness and to ask you to pass judgement upon Yourself ? I am nothing and You are everything. Even the insignificant position that I had ten years ago, that of country parish priest, is mine no longer for, suspended by decision of the Bishop of Troyes on August 25, 1966, I no longer even have the right to celebrate Mass or to preach in this diocese where I reside. Whereas You are the most exalted man on earth. You occupy the pinnacle of honour and greatness in this world, constituted as you are in the highest ecclesiastical office that can be conceived and assisted by the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit in a way open to no other human being. How, then, dare I rise up against You ? ”
Fr. de Nantes, “ a simple priest, on the lowest rung of the hierarchy ”, presented himself as a “ sinner like others ”, and he did not pride himself on “ any personal merit, any mystical enlightenment, any mission ” to justify his reproach against the Pope. So what gave him the right and the audacity to make a complaint to Paul VI about Himself, and this before the whole Church ?
He found it “ in the faith, in the hope and in the charity which the Holy Spirit bestows upon all faithful souls, provided they do not place obstacles in the way through heresy, schism or apostasy. For twenty-five years I have been a priest, given over to the study of theology. But I claim no basis for my action other than the common, ordinary and elementary faith of our baptism and my full membership of the Roman Catholic Church. As an insignificant member of the Ecclesia credens 23, I have absolutely no authority to judge anybody nor to declare any proceeding null and void, nor to provide the authentic interpretation of even the least article of the faith. But I do have both the right and the duty to keep in mind the teaching which I received as the constant and universal, irreformable and infallible doctrine of the Ecclesia docens 24, the doctrine of the Catholic Magisterium. This faith of simple Catholics is binding upon us all, as much upon Yourself, Most Holy Father, as upon us, on pain of spiritual death and deposition or loss of office.
“ Now over the past ten years I have been unable to prevent my reason, which pays its ‘ logical homage ’25 to God through faith, from noting an intense formal contradiction between what we were formerly taught and what we are taught now. In my soul – awaiting the divine Truth like virgin wax and possessing as its certitudes nothing but the first principles of reason which constitute its very nature as well as the primary illumination of God the Sun of the mind – the Catholic Credo was engraved and there remained fixed, without anything ever coming from on high to blur its characters. The Church always spoke the same language. But these past ten years, although not with the same authority, the same unanimity, the consistency and unanimity of times past, she has been speaking through You, through the Council, through the bishops, an entirely new language in the name of novelty and change, the habitual and infamous marks of heresy, schism and apostasy. Whereupon a deep inner protest arose uncontrollably within me which, as a matter of honesty, I made public and submitted to examination by Authority. Little by little it has made its way until today it has reached your Tribunal, you the Judges of judges, the Sovereign Pontiff, the one with supreme responsibility for this abhorred Reformation, but also the ultimate interpreter and guarantor of the adorable divine Truth. If the contradiction between the Catholic religion and this supposedly reformed religion can be so keenly felt and expressed by me, the most unworthy of Christ’s faithful, then surely in You, as the most eminent member of Christ’s faithful, it must attain its highest possible point of infallible clarity and prophetic certainty. Tell us therefore, we beseech you, where the Truth of God is, and where the heresy, the schism and the scandal. Tell us solemnly and we will believe your Word.
“ I say ‘ we ’, because I do not dissociate myself from the faithful people who suffer from this same contradiction. ” The thousands of Catholics involved in the ‘ Roman Legion ’ “ are in no way a party separate from the totality of the Catholic community. By all sorts of ties they are linked to hundreds of thousands of others who make up the unlimited fabric of the Catholic Church. And to varying degrees and despite some differences in interpretation, their complaints reflect those of certain members of the hierarchy, even among those in the highest positions and close to the throne of Your Holiness.
“ That is why I, who am nobody, feel bound in conscience to take my courage in my hands and to ask you, Most Holy Father, to render us Truth and Justice against Yourself on account of public, well-established and persistent heresy, schism and scandal. I ask this in the name of the faithful Church and of the whole Catholic people whose trust You have abused by making out that this Reform was necessary for the Church and by invoking your Authority in an indescribably abusive manner. You stand accused, and I submit that you are accused by the Church herself in her indefectible infallibility of which I make myself the miserable but truthful echo. And You alone, Most Holy Father, are able to clear Yourself of this charge by making Yourself the authoritative and infallible Voice of this same faith of the Church, terminating the conflict to your advantage if you can. But we hold that to be impossible. Such a justification would make this Reform enter into the body of divine Truths which express the deposit of the revealed faith. No, that cannot be...
“ Never has there been a conflict comparable to the present. The Church cannot continue in such a state of contradiction. Our accusation obliges You, Most Holy Father, to examine the whole affair and to pass judgement on it. The peace of the Church and her fidelity to Christ are at stake. I should wish – we should all prefer – to be proved wrong so that Your August Person might be right. But the honour of God, the welfare of the Church and the salvation of souls speak louder than our human sentiments, and they tell us that it is you who are wrong. We pray for your spiritual conversion and for your change of heart, in order that the Church may be delivered from the yoke of Satan which holds her enchained and restored to Christ so that she may bring forth once more her fruits of life and holiness. ”26
Having recalled the fierce combat of the popes against the modern errors of the 19th and 20th centuries, Fr. de Nantes was able to reveal the full scope of the drama of Paul VI’s pontificate : the latter had adopted, albeit with reassuring restrictions, the new religion that his predecessors had rejected as a seduction of the devil.
There then began a penetrating and objective exposition of the thoughts and actions of Paul VI, the ultimately responsible architect of the conciliar Reform.
The first principal accusation concerned Paul VI’s heteropraxy in proclaiming Religious Liberty : “ To put his new-found liberalism into practice, You desired to renounce the exercise of your supreme Magisterium. Having proclaimed Religious Liberty to be a sacred and inalienable right of man, you are no longer able to exercise any legislative, judicial or coercive power, even inside the Church. The new form – which You will soon be saying is the ‘ only legitimate ’ form – of religious contact both between those within the Church and between the Church and those outside, is that of dialogue. ”
As a consequence, Fr. de Nantes vigorously denounced the heterodoxy which inspired this, namely the cult of man : “ The Christian universe began to reel from the moment You proclaimed dialogue as the only lawful tool of the new apostolate : for instead of God being the acknowledged judge of man, it is now man who is called upon to judge God. ” Through a series of irrefutable quotations, the theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation showed how the Pope had inevitably slid from his heteropraxy into the heterodoxy of the cult of man, culminating in his address to the conciliar assembly on the day before Vatican II closed. “ You announced this new Credo on December 7, 1965, in the presence of all the bishops of the world. Whether they were inattentive, or your accomplices, or under your spell, I know not. But Holy Mother Church cannot and will never be able to subscribe to such statements. On that day it is clear that you were to separate yourself from the Church of Christ in order to go to that Church which is yours, the Counter-Church, the Synagogue of Satan, where man makes himself God. But in the meantime, through men’s indifference or cowardice, you are still on the See of Peter, in the capacity of supreme Judge of the Church. The capital Accusation we bring against you concerns your liberalism and your cult of Man, which we maintain are blasphemous, heretical, schismatic and, in a word, apostate. The Decision is for you to make, for you are still the Vicar of Jesus Christ upon earth. Pass judgement upon Yourself and, if I have lied, cut me off from the Church. But you know that I am not lying. If I have told the Truth, then cut Yourself off from this sacred Community which you have betrayed ! ”27
In the rest of the Liber, Fr. de Nantes enlarged upon three main charges against Paul VI :
1. His personal heresy, namely his “ theory of religion as a Movement for the Spiritual Animation of Universal Democracy, the (French) abridgement of which is MASDU ”. The grand design of Paul VI, his politico-religious utopia, which Fr. de Nantes had explained and denounced since 196528, was presented in a very structured exposition of fifteen pages full of quotations from the Pontiff.
2. His universal complicity with heresy. “ You yourself are the first and foremost cause of today’s inexplicable tolerance at every level of the Church for any kind of error, and everyone allows themselves to be caught up in this. Not of course that You are the only one responsible, but You bear the supreme responsibility, all the other pastors only being responsible through derivation and subordination. That is why we accuse you of major complicity with all the heresies that are springing up in every sphere and in every part of the Church. Even those heresies which You do not share in any way, even those which fill You with horror, are supported by You inasmuch as You fail to bring sanctions against them. ”29
Fr. de Nantes revealed the essential reasons for this negligence, this universal complicity with heresy :
“ In the first place, You are anxious to be on good terms with all men, including even atheists and communists, and this desire for dialogue with the adversaries outside the Church leads you also to respect and honour their friends within. For example, you desire to make peace with the Protestants by avoiding any mention of the condemnations of the past, and this prevents you from repressing the Protestantisation of the Church which is going on today and issuing new condemnations. And so it fares with everything else. You are prepared to tolerate anything. In this we see your liberalism.
“ On a more profound level, You are convinced that the language of our dogma and canonical discipline requires a fundamental revision in the interests of dialogue with the world, that it must be adapted to modern ways of thinking and living. As a consequence of this, you feel hesitant and perplexed when faced with truly revolutionary formulations. You wonder whether, even if today they seem too extreme, they may not be the hallowed forms of tomorrow. Do they represent the future forms of the faith or its corruption ? You hesitate. In this we see your evolutionism.
“ Finally, the chief reason for your flirtation with every kind of heresy lies in the fact that there is no real and affective link between your politico-religious utopia on the one hand, and your properly dogmatic faith on the other. I dare not think that you have a clear appreciation of the contradiction between these two registers of your thinking, that is your utopia and your faith. For in that case your guilt would indeed be beyond measure. But you are conscious of it to the extent that you experience a constant unease, a feeling of being drawn this way and that : the faith may seem to you neither useful or inspiring, but your utopia has not developed so far as to be grafted on to your Credo. You teach the traditional faith on Wednesdays and betray it on Sundays ! But you are keenly conscious of the harmony, the solidarity, the mutual sympathy between your own political utopia and the dogmatic and moral heresies of our time. Obviously you cannot acknowledge them. So you tolerate them and show their authors an active sympathy. In this we see your modernism. ”30
Fr. de Nantes supported his demonstration with a considerable number of well known facts : heretical catechisms that went uncondemned; the reactions of cardinals in the Curia... quelled; the worst heretics... tolerated, etc. The conclusion of each of these sections, often in the form of diatribe and invective, clearly highlighted the extreme gravity of his accusations and suspicions :
“ You act like the false prophet. You lie to men and you betray your God... If I am lying, condemn the errors of Teilhard... If I am wrong, anathematise the ten errors of the Dutch Catechism. ”31
Whence he finally arrives at this impressive observation : “ I could bring this book to a conclusion here. It would amply suffice to condemn you. For are You aware, Most Holy Father, of the two conditions for every true Reform of the Church in capite et in membris ? First of all it requires that the Sovereign Pontiff should himself be above any reproach or suspicion in matters of faith. And then it requires that the Pope should not hesitate to strike at heresy in its head, in its most prominent accomplices, even at the highest levels of the Church. Both these requirements affect You directly. The Head of the Heresy, of all present day heresies which are propagated and protected by your sovereign Authority, is You. How then might you still be the Head of the Church, free from all fault and clear of any suspicion, worthy and capable of crushing every heresy in the world with the aid of Mary ? ”32
“ Schism is the gravest of sins, because it is a crime against charity, the third and most desirable of the theological virtues. ” Charity “ is the love of our Heavenly Father and of the One sent by Him, Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit Whom They pour into the hearts of the faithful. It is also, therefore, the love of the Apostolic Church which is the historical work, continued down to our day, of their Holy and Adorable Trinity, and the love of the members of this Church who are our brethren, and finally the love of our neighbour, whoever he may be, including even our enemies for whom we wish only good, and above all the greatest and most precious good of all, the faith which leads to Life everlasting...
“ Alas, Most Holy Father, You have shown, over nearly ten years now, such a complete and astounding inversion of Love, that we are forced to charge You with schism. ”33
“ Affective Schism : towards individuals.
“ Ever since You declared your true position in the encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, ever since You took control of the Reformation and became the head of the movement, You have been so ardent in your fight against a certain kind of traditional Church with all its ‘ routine and inertia ’, that it has been impossible for You to disguise your ill-feeling towards this integrist or traditionalist party which continued to defend what You were seeking to destroy, which refused to accept what you wanted to impose. ” However, of all your sons, are not the traditionalist Catholics those “ most attached ” to You ?
Out of filial piety, Fr. de Nantes did not seek to produce an exhaustive list of Paul VI’s displays of sectarian passion : “ A great number of things took place which I had no wish to bring to people’s attention. ”
But, having given a few telling examples, he pointed out the reason for this disorder of the heart stems from the disorder of the mind : “ A heretic, even if he is allowed to remain within the bosom of the Church, cannot bear to live in peace and brotherly communion with those who live by that faith which he no longer has, and against which he is fighting. He is a man of a party, to the extent that he is no longer a man of God but a man of a particular Idea. Sooner or later he begins to develop feelings such as Cain had for his brother Abel, as we read in Holy Scripture, and we know that he ended up by killing him. Psychologically, You have reached a similar stage, as we are made aware when we hear those strange-sounding curses which You shower upon those who will not follow You, for the most part innocent, disorientated and distraught souls : ‘ Woe to those who remain aloof, woe to the lukewarm, to the indifferent, to the malcontents, to those who drag their feet ! ’ (September 14, 1966) ”34
“ Effective Schism : against the Church.
“ In order that your ideas may carry the day, the other side – the one that remains faithful to the Church’s teaching – must be laid low. The success of your plan for a worldwide Community of religions, or at least a spiritual union which would animate the new City of man, requires that You break with every custom and rite, every discipline that is Catholic in the narrow sense of the word. This clean break with the past gives your affective schism another dimension, that of an effective schism with the whole Catholic tradition. ”35
Everything Fr. de Nantes stated regarding the “ auto-demolition ” of the Church, the disastrous liturgical reform for example, was proved by numerous quotations from authentic texts, an accumulation of references to incontrovertible facts. What a review ! When we read the Liber, little by little we are led on a terrifying journey through all the catastrophic events of the first ten years of Paul VI’s pontificate.
“ Absolute Schism : Contempt of God.
“ You are truly the first Pope to decide not to let himself be restricted by the charge he has as Head of the Church, but to aim rather at the service, on a much vaster scale, of the whole of mankind. You believe that you are called by Providence, in a truly unique way at this solemn moment of history, to establish peace on earth through reconciling all beliefs and all religions in one single universal religion. You may overlook the fact, but your design involves such a degree of indifference to the God’s Church that it necessarily implies total disdain towards Him who is her Founder and Sanctifier, her sole Master and Spouse.
“ This great design of yours, which I have called MASDU, the formation of a vast new Movement for the Spiritual Animation of Universal Democracy, represents for you a centre of political interest, no matter how abstract and fanciful this centre may be, and a temporal ambition which is all the more powerful for now being on a global rather than local scale. Now, what is so unprecedented about all this is that such a project encompasses the Church as one of its constituent elements. This implies, not that You take no interest in the Church, which would effectively be a minor act of schism, but that You seek rather to subject the Church to the World whose Prince you dream of becoming, a Prince of peace, and therefore, to put it simply, that You ‘ no longer discern the Body of the Lord ’, as Saint Paul said.
“ For this is the implacable logic of your great design : You no longer discern the Church from that which is not the Church, the Priesthood from that which is only an illusion, and the Mass from that which is nothing but a parody of it. Here indeed appears a major act of schism, separating You from God in your disdain of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ”36
“ Were a Pope to refuse entirely to perform his duties as Bishop of Rome, as Head of the Church, as Vicar of Jesus Christ, in order to devote himself wholly to worldly politics, then, according to the teaching of Cajetan37, he ought to be declared schismatic and, on this account, considered to be deposed. So what are we to think of a Pope who goes one step further and devotes himself, to the detriment of the Church, to forming another community of salvation, a universal religion, a Movement for the Spiritual Animation of Universal Democracy ? There can be no doubt that we must consider him as schismatic and in rebellion against God, and do whatever lies within our power to rid the Church of him. ”38
“ There can be no question here of criticising in any way the private life of the Sovereign Pontiff. That is something which only God and his own conscience may examine and judge. The only exception, almost fanciful, where his private life could be of concern to the whole Church would be that of blackmail. If, on account of terrible scandals in his private life, the Pope were to submit, through fear, to the blackmail of a sordid faction who held him prisoner and prevented him from freely carrying out his duties, then those with any knowledge of such a state of affairs would be morally bound, even at the risk of incurring excommunication for it, to do everything within their power to get the pope to resign.39
“ It is with an entirely different sort of scandal that we are concerned here – with public acts of the Pontiff calculated to set a bad example to the faithful or in other ways to make the practice of their religion difficult for them... Your Pontificate, Most Holy Father, has been marked since 1964 by an almost uninterrupted succession of these unusual decisions and gestures, intended to appeal to public opinion.
“ The underlying reason for these numerous scandals which we are about to review – however incompletely – is easy to guess. You arrange these unusual acts, with a full understanding of what You are doing, in an attempt to ‘ unblock ’ a well established situation, to precipitate a movement, to provoke a debacle, rather like breaking up the ice on frozen rivers by a carefully planned succession of dynamite blasts. In the same way, You leave nothing to chance and put into operation, methodically and with perfect assurance, your Great Design through this succession of surprises which form so many daring gestures. Once your secret has been fathomed, one can only admire its cleverness and its sure touch. It is heresy in action, it is schism in the making, logical and implacable. And the goal of this unbelievable series of scandals is a new humanist and universal Christianity. But in our eyes, it is the ruin of the Church and civilisation on behalf of a utopia behind which the Empire of Satan advances. ”40
What a style ! One that is powerful to say the least and fully in accord with the extraordinary gravity of the accusations...
At the end of his implacable demonstration, Fr. de Nantes went on to reveal the ultimate reasons for this Pontiff’s hatred of the Christian West, his blind anti-colonialism and his unconditional pro-communism. Under the heading “ The kingdom of Satan ”, he wrote : “ Such scandals are well-established, public, and their meaning is clear to those who are aware of the secret Powers with which You sought to make contact and also of the other invisible Powers to which You would not listen. Everything is summed up in two names, Most Holy Father, two sanctuaries : Manhattan and Fatima. In other words, the Immaculate Virgin, the Mother of God on one hand, and freemasonry on the other, two contrary powers, one of the day, the other of the night.
“ Let us not mince our words. All your Predecessors teach – and their teaching is as much for You as it is for us – that the Power of Satan is not content with exerting an influence that is wholly spiritual, invisible, and confined to individuals. It also seeks to embody itself in institutions. It makes itself visible and exercises its oppression, its aggression, through men, societies and organisations whose distinguishing mark is that they are occult. ”41 It is impossible “ to reconcile ourselves to the fact that the Pope can think, speak, and act as an adept of freemasonry. Your support for the United Nations, its cult and its Credo, formed one of those scandals which You deliberately made use of to ‘ unblock ’ the Church and set her heading towards the full revelation and realisation of your universally ‘ fraternal ’ designs, that is to say masonic designs. ”42
And now for the other side of the diptych : Paul VI at Fatima.
It is important to read the doleful account of his visit to that blessed land on May 13, 1967. One cannot observe his gestures and actions and listen to his scandalous homily without feeling an icy shudder and subscribing to the devastating conclusion of our Father :
“ You came to Fatima in order that She who is able to crush the head of the serpent should be crushed by him in Her turn, and that Her Message – wherein lies mankind’s last hope of salvation – should be crushed under a contrary message : an appeal to men to build a new world upon the foundation of their pride !
“ If I am lying, prove it ! Prove that you are not of Satan but of Christ by publishing the Third Secret of Fatima, by calling all Christians to Prayer and Penance, by asking that the recitation of the Rosary for Peace should be intensified, and by pronouncing the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon whom peace depends, ‘ for God has entrusted this to Her ’, in order that in the end ‘ Her Immaculate Heart might triumph ’ ! ”43
“ RETURN AND CONFIRM THY BRETHREN ! ”
Under this title, the conclusion of the hundred pages of the Liber formed an ardent triple supplication :
“ During these days and nights when I have, as it were, been dwelling within your own mind – making an index of your thoughts, analysing your feelings and your aims, recording your decisions – I could not but become conscious of the immense havoc wrought within You by all this new and heretical teaching. I have seen You standing alone, confronting all your Predecessors and – notwithstanding the illusory unanimity of the worldly applause that greets you on your travels – cut off from the Church and in rupture with all the Saints and the multitudes of the faithful who peopled our great Catholic past. I have been filled with horror to discover the profound deterioration of your mind, asking myself what evil influence had You in its power and fearing for your eternal salvation. I make so bold as to write, Most Holy Father, I who am but a miserable sinner among sinners, that I suffer greatly on your behalf at the thought of God’s Judgement – so close, so inexorable – and I entreat You : Have pity on your own soul. ”44
“ We make so bold as to exhort you to think of the Church ! Even if You are indifferent to your own personal salvation, at least have some regard for the salvation of the great mass of mankind and govern your people with courage ! ”45
Taking up and meditating upon the rich invocations of the “ Our Father ”, Fr. de Nantes finally begged the Pope to think of the honour of God.
The last page of the Liber contained one last vigorous appeal, a passionate summons :
“ For my part, I feel happy and confident, in my nothingness, now that I have accomplished this task which needed to be done. Not long ago I said something which I do not regret and am happy to repeat here : may God punish me if I am wrong and have deceived those who follow me; may He strike me with violent death if I have served falsehood and not truth46. There are certain exceptional moments in the course of history when the darkness lies so heavy that – in the absence of infallible human judges – he who has the faith is compelled to make a direct appeal to God’s judgement, formerly called an ordeal.
“ But for your part, Most Holy Father, now that You have this Libellus of Accusation in your hands, You will no longer be in good standing with the Church nor with Christ Himself until such time as You infallibly judge where the truth lies and where the error in this state of division and scandal which is ravaging your Church. It gives me pain to be the bearer of this summons, one that is both divine and human, calling upon You to do your duty. But it is charity alone that has guided my courage. For unless and until You make up your mind to undo the heresy, the schism and the scandal of these past ten years – or perhaps fifty in your own personal case – of which You have now been publicly accused before your own Tribunal, You will have no rest, either in this world or in the next.
“ Finally, Most Holy Father, if You would deign to show us a more profound kind of communion and the bond of Catholic charity, grant us the grace of now reciting with us three Pater Nosters and three Aves for Your intentions, for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff as these have always been defined and as I find them in the Manual of Prayer of Ars published in 1844 : ‘ Let us pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff : for the propagation of the faith, the exaltation of Holy Church, the extirpation of heresies and peace between Christian princes. ’ These intentions are truly our own, Most Holy Father, and they must surely be Yours. ”47
THE PRESENTATION OF THE LIBER TO Paul VI
During the latter months of the winter of 1973, the readers of the Catholic Counter-Reformation who wished to be associated with Fr. de Nantes ’ complaint, gradually entered the ranks of his “ Roman Legion ”. Its enrolment formula was as follows :
“ We the undersigned, persuaded that the appalling crisis with which the Church is currently wrestling is principally caused or at least considerably aggravated by the inaction of our Holy Father Pope Paul VI, his errors and his doctrinal compromises, his desire for unending reform in rites and discipline, affirm our agreement with Fr. de Nantes and the Heads of the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and we undertake to support their action at the Court of Rome, before the Holy Father himself or, failing that, before the Clergy of Rome,
“ by prayer and penance, each according to his state, “ by a studying the doctrinal basis of this action and explaining it to everyone, “ by means of whatever financial contribution we can make towards it.
We hereby authorise Fr. de Nantes personally to speak in our name, due regard naturally being taken of the rights of God, the discipline of the Church, and the respect and obedience due to the Person of the Pope as Teacher, Head and Shepherd of the faithful. Each of the signatories retains the right to withdraw at any time by means of a letter of resignation in case of doctrinal disagreement or for any reason of conscience whatsoever. ”48
“ The principal obligation of the signatories ”, Fr. de Nantes specified, “ relates to prayer and penance, each giving himself to these according to his strength. But the devil is firmly established in the Church of Rome. For ten years he has been building a complete base of operations, a subterranean network, an impregnable keep. Only the prayers and penance of a whole people can make our complaint truly effective. We must all observe a true and exacting Lent to obtain God’s grace ! ”49
By the middle of March there were 2,500 enrolments in the “ Roman Legion ”, and in April, in the space of a fortnight, the number of supporters rose from 3,000 to 4,060.
To present Paul VI with the Liber accusationis which was intended to open a canonical trial for heresy, if it was officially received, Fr. de Nantes went to Rome at the head of a delegation comprising eight brothers from his community, Fr. Linares and some fifty lay people who represented the members of his “ Roman Legion ”.
“ For most of our modest friends ”, our Father would point out, “ it was their first pilgrimage to Rome; anguish, yes, fear gripped their hearts. They proceeded with the courage of the faith, their decision based on their own limited but immediate convictions, and also on their trust in my own teaching, a trust which filled me with wonder as I carefully considered my responsibility before God and men. ”50
APRIL 9 : THE PRESS CONFERENCE,
AFTER THE VATICAN NOTIFICATION.
“ We arrived at the Termini on Monday April 9 ”, Fr. de Nantes will recount. Shortly afterwards, “ we celebrated Holy Mass at the altar of the Virgin in Saint Mary Major’s; the brothers wore their white capes, everyone joined in the responses and everyone received Communion. They began to feel at home here in Rome. Here, it seemed, the Church had not changed. And in every one of the churches we entered, we were allowed to say the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the traditional Roman rite of Saint Pius V, without encountering any disagreeable remarks. ”51
Before leaving Saint Mary Major’s, Fr. de Nantes left an offering in the sacristy of the basilica in order that, on every day for a year, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would be celebrated for the Church and for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff.
During the afternoon of that April 9, the CRC pilgrims visited the Catacombs and Saint John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome and of the world, where some distinguished relics are venerated : the heads of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. “ There we prayed for the Sovereign Pontiff. ”51
Brother Gerard had invited journalists to a press conference at 7 o’clock in the Hotel Minerva, where the group of CRC pilgrims were staying. Fr. de Nantes’ presence in Rome had begun to arouse a certain excitement among journalists because the Italian edition of the Osservatore Romano had published on its front page for April 8 the following notification :
“ Over the last few days leaflets have been distributed in Rome headed with the name of a so-called ‘ League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation ’ and announcing a forthcoming demonstration organised by the well-known Fr. de Nantes against Pope Paul VI in order to accuse him of heresy, schism and scandal, as part of a reactionary protest – so it would appear to us – against the recent 2nd Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. It is clear that what we have here is an arrogant and fanatical gesture, which is not supported by any ecclesiastical authority, but which, on the contrary, is disqualified and deplored by ecclesiastical authority as lacking any seriousness or canonical basis, and which is gravely offensive towards the person and ministry of the Vicar of Christ. ”
In-depth articles then appeared, notably in Il Tempo. “ One detail is particularly instructive ”, remarked a friend of our Father who had married into a family of Roman diplomats, “ the journal of the Italian communist party came out in defence of the Pope (their Pope ?) and denounced us ”52. The French press, such as Le Figaro, cited this notification and, on several occasions that April 9, it was broadcast by French television.
In Rome, in the late afternoon, Fr. de Nantes was suddenly to encounter unforeseen difficulties : the Minerva management refused to allow the publicised press conference to be held in the hotel. “ Our friends in Rome had suspected this might be the case because, while we were out, journalists who had telephoned the hotel were invariably told that the conference would not take place and that nothing of the sort had even been planned ! Curiously, however, the hall had been carefully laid out for the press conference ! Doubtless the idea was to make us believe for as long as possible that everything would pass off as planned. ”52
What was to be done ? It was necessary to leave the hotel and search for somewhere else. Fr. de Nantes, the brothers and the lay representatives of the CRC, followed by a crowd of journalists and the curious, made their way to the Hotel Raphael. But there, as at the Minerva, they came up against a refusal by the management, a fact all the more surprising in that our Father was accompanied by one of his Roman friends who usually had a room at his entire disposal in this hotel. The French theologian remarked on the situation to the journalists : “ I find it astonishing that here in Italy there is nowhere for us to speak to you freely. ”
“ We soon found ourselves outside ”, recounts our Father, “ in the dark and in the rain, forced to hold our press conference in Navone Square. Perched on a bench, dazzled by camera flashes, I began to explain to the journalists the reason for our visit : not to judge the Pope or to condemn him, but to accuse him of breaking with the apostolic tradition, of contradicting all his predecessors and of thus throwing the Church into a state of unprecedented decay. I pointed out that Rome, the unique City once admired by the world for her religious glory and her universal influence, was now held in contempt and was gradually being abandoned by the national Churches which were forming themselves into autonomous Churches. ”53
The recording of this interview with journalists in the public highway needs to be heard54. Suddenly, a police commissioner was heard giving orders. He wanted this conference, which was not authorised ! to stop immediately. Fr. de Nantes protested : “ If the police arrest me, people will know that Rome is not a free city and that there exists an agreement between the Church and the police of the Italian state to arrest those who wish to explain themselves... ”
“ How many accusations are there ? ” asked one journalist. “ All the accusations are in this book which I will present to Paul VI. It contains 237 quotes from the Pope, which I criticise. Either the Pope said these things or he did not say them. Either what he said is Catholic or else what he said is not Catholic... ” – “ But ”, one journalist exclaimed, “ what about the Council ! ” – “ I cannot accept a Reform which... ” – “ We want information. We do not want polemics. How do you count on handing this book to the Pope ? ” – “ I wrote to Paul VI several years ago. He never replied to me. So I decided to go and see him because I wish to tell the truth to my Father. The Pope is our Father. I gave him advance notice. I asked him to arrange an audience for me. He did not reply. Paul VI receives everyone : guerrillas, cinema actresses, etc. We are Catholic priests. We have the right to be received by our Father. I wrote to Cardinal Villot. I informed him. We will present ourselves tomorrow at 10 o’clock outside the Vatican’s Bronze Gate. If the Pope does not receive us, then he refuses to be our Father, to be the Father of traditionalist Catholics. ” – “ One question, Father. Do you intend to give your book to the press ? ” – “ The book will be given to the Pope. Those who are with me have already read it. But I will not make it public until one month has passed; that is, one month after it has been handed to the Pope; I want to respect the authority of the Holy Father. ” – “ Bravo ! ” Fr. de Nantes continued :
“ You have read the Vatican press release. It says that we are fanatics. Whether that means we are mad is for each of you to judge. When the Pope reads my Liber, he will be able to judge for himself whether it is the work of a madman or whether it is the work of a sensible man. However, if the adjective fanatical refers to someone who believes in his Credo because it is the unique truth and is ready to shed his blood for it, then perhaps the Pope is not a fanatic, but I am a fanatic, it is true, and there are thousands of us, hundreds of thousands of fanatics in the Church.
“ Secondly, the communiqué stated that our action lies outside of canon law. I protest against this statement. Our case is canonical. But at the Vatican they do not want to receive me as a plaintiff. They will never open this trial because they know that I am right and that – alas, it has to be said – the Pope is wrong.
“ When someone is right, he does not hesitate to receive complaints and to respond to them in a dignified and public manner. I hold the Pope to be a heretic. Well, whether I be mad, or whether I be wrong, the Vatican must establish my error and point it out to me. ”55
A police siren rang out. Soon there were several... But let us listen to our Roman friend as he recounts these events : “ A fat man wearing a tri-coloured scarf around his neck bounded up with three other muscle men. Meanwhile, certain Italian elements who had mingled with our group started to cause a stir and to shout in order to create a climate of violence. We did not budge and used our bodies to form a rampart around Father. This lasted for several long minutes. I saw one outraged Italian protest against these procedures and next to him a man of thick build, dressed in plain clothes, took out a police officer’s identity card. So the police had been amongst us from the beginning. The whole thing was a set-up ! ”56
There was a general skirmish. Police sirens wailed. Protests sprang out on all sides. “ Vergogna ! vergogna ! Shame, shame ! ” shouted a Roman friend, Giovanni Volpe. Brother Bruno was violently accosted by three or four policemen.
“ Having held a parley with the police, Father asked us to let him submit to an identity check. With Brother Gerard, he was led away to one of the cafés in the square. ” Then Brother Gerard returned and “ transmitted Father’s orders to us : ‘ We were to disperse and go to the restaurant for dinner. ’ A number of us hesitated to leave, fearing for Father. I for my part thought it preferable to leave the square and I encouraged our friends not to give an excuse to the carabinieri who were only looking for an opportunity to pick us up. I went to the hotel and then to the restaurant. ”57
“ The police car sirens ”, Fr. de Nantes will write, “ and the arrival of a company of carabinieri at the charge with their helmets and visors gave the whole scene an air of absurdity. Whom, what, had they been given the order to arrest ? The Truth. The actual legal reason was the insult to a head of State, the Pope, which the Italian government was unable to tolerate on its territory. It was for this reason that our hotels had been ‘ advised ’ to refuse us the rooms we had been promised and that is why the carabinieri had massed in Navone Square, ready to intervene ! But only yesterday ten thousand communists had covered Rome with stickers and had demonstrated against President Thieu with the slogan ‘ Thieu the assassin ’ without the carabinieri intervening ! As the government would not answer for his safety in Rome, Thieu had to land in the Vatican by helicopter ! But in our case there was a much more cosy collusion between the spiritual and the political powers... and the police ! Having been detained for an identity check, we were allowed to go after the crowd had dispersed, but thereafter the police, either in uniform or in very obvious disguise, did not let us out of their sight until we left Rome. That evening, the astounded journalists, the inquisitive and our own pilgrims would start to see that nothing was feared as much as we were, although they did not understand the reason for such terror. ”58
APRIL 10 : OUTSIDE THE BRONZE DOOR
At 8 o’clock in the morning, Fr. de Nantes and the representatives of his “ Roman Legion ” entered the basilica of Saint Peter’s, which was then deserted. In the sacristy our Father met an ecclesiastic who appeared to have been forewarned of our visit. “ I asked permission to celebrate Holy Mass at the altar of Saint Pius X, where the saint’s shrine is. The priest asked to see my celebret, read it and gave me authorisation. We were flooded with deep joy and gratitude. I had – we all had – implored Heaven for this sign that would publicly confirm that we belonged to the Holy Roman Church ! A devout Mass, on the morning of such a formidable enterprise... Everyone went to Holy Communion and we finished with the Salve Regina. ”59
Several plain-clothes police officers took part in the Mass, as well as a middle-aged priest in the first row. “ Charged with the task of reporting to Cardinal Villot, he will tell him, ‘ The Mass was very recollected. ’ ”60
Our Father wanted to make an offering towards the lantern of Saint Peter’s Confession. He entered the office of the treasurer, who was seized with panic at seeing him. He could not, he said, accept such an offering without first having received orders from his superiors. Fr. de Nantes waited for a short while, but it was in vain ! He was not allowed to make his offering.
“ We all came together, shortly before 10 o’clock, in the chapel of Saint Pius X. Then very quickly ”, our Roman friend writes, “ Father took his place at the head of the group, his rosary and the libellus in his hand, and we passed by Michelangelo’s Pieta, before which we knelt down to chant the Sub tuum before making our way to the doors leading out onto the esplanade. The police agents then attempted a desperate manoeuvre. They tried to bar our way and to shut the doors of the basilica. Using the authority he inspires, Father passed through, and with him the brothers and between six and eight lay people. ” But the rest of the group were held prisoners in the basilica. “ This was quite unexpected. But once they had got over their surprise, our friends were able to find a way out through an unofficial exit in the crypt, and they rejoined us as we slowly made our way down towards the Portone di Bronzo. ”61
“ Saint Peter’s Square was practically empty. There would be very few coaches that morning. The travel agencies must have received instructions from the police.
“ A priest in a round hat approached and publicly congratulated Father who thanked him for his courage.
“ Sticking closely together, we then made our way, while saying the Rosary, towards the far side of the esplanade where the Bronze Door opens under the colonnade. ” But to our surprise “ an imposing display of force was awaiting us. There were a number of police cars and, under the colonnade standing in front of the Door, several rows of carabinieri. Immediately in front of us stood about twenty plain-clothes policemen. We came right up to them and were stopped. The police contingent made its resistance very apparent, as we stood shoulder to shoulder with them. ”62
“ Our hearts sank ! ” remarked our Father in his report. “ We were forbidden to advance. We pushed forward and we were brusquely pushed back. I asked who these people are. They admitted, with bad grace, to being Italian police. What were their orders ? To disperse us and to force us to leave the Square. Why ? Because we were disturbing the public order. I protested : we were quiet and unarmed. No one could join our group which was now surrounded by police who were dispersing people and making them keep their distance. We had come to see the Pope whom we had informed of our visit and we demanded to be allowed to pass...
“ ‘ It’s no good. The Pope doesn’t want to see you. ’
– ‘ Did he tell you that himself ? ’
– ‘ Those are our orders. ’
– ‘ Given by whom ? ’
– ‘ By our superiors. ’
– ‘ The Italian State ? ’
– ‘ Yes, no, er... ’
“ There was no way of knowing. Finally came the admission : ‘ Yes, it’s the Pope who has ordered us to tell you this and to block your approach. The Vatican does not wish to have any contact with you ! ” Whereupon all our proposals drew a blank, and as soon as we started to push forwards towards the Bronze Door, we were immediately thrown back. Perhaps we could simply send a delegation ? ‘ No ! ’
– ‘ Could we leave the Libellus at the Gate. ’
– ‘ No ! ’
– ‘ Perhaps a priest could come and order us to withdraw ? ’
– ‘ Again, no ? ’
– ‘ Then perhaps a note signed by an ecclesiastical functionary ? ’
– ‘ No, no, no ! ’
“ The police were in disagreement amongst themselves and it was only through the repeated orders of an inflexible superintendent that they managed to resist our requests. Clearly, they could not understand why no one dared to show his face from behind the scene, why this little group should inspire such fear. The journalists were equally at a loss. What could be in this Book to make the Pope so anxious to avoid it at all costs ? But the orders were categorical : the Vatican Instructions were to block any contact.
“ We have come to lay at the feet of the Sovereign Pontiff our complaint against himself for heresy, schism and scandal, a complaint whose legality cannot be challenged for it envisages nothing less than a proper canonical process. It is now ten years since the seeds of the subversion began to take root in the Church, and over these past five years the destruction of Christ's religion has been proceeding on a scale which rules out any compromise : Est, est ! Non, non ! There are two different religions warring against each other in the Church, and this is the Pope's own doing. For within the Pope's own soul there are two mutually incompatible visions of the world. One of them must chase the other out. ”
Georges de Nantes, April 1973.
“ We were staggered by this refusal and the way it was put into practice. And to think that they did not even know the contents of this Libellus ! As yet the only people who had any knowledge of it were our friends who were with us. But the Pope and his entourage must have had a pretty good idea of the substance of our accusation; they knew on what points they had gone against the faith, the morals and the discipline of the Church ! Was not their refusal to listen and to judge an admission of guilt ? It was an abdication of responsibility, an abuse of judicial power. That at least is what we felt at the time. ”63
Someone interposed : “ Father, the Italian police have the job of maintaining order here in Saint Peter’s Square. The police are politely warning you not to insist. What can I tell them ? ” – “ Tell them I cannot accept that we should be hounded on the pretext of disturbing the public order. I have my rosary in my hand and this book for the Pope, as well as this other book containing the signatures of 4,060 Catholics who support our appeal. I am not a disrupter of the public order. These books are not bombs. I want a Vatican official, a member of the pontifical administration to come and advise us of the Pope’s refusal personally. I am not prepared to accept the orders of the Vatican through the go-between of the Italian police. The police are not entitled to exercise the office of door-attendant between the Pope who is my Father and myself who am his son. No ! the Italian police has no business in this matter. ”
The situation became critical. The police were were arguing among themselves; some of them went off to seek new orders. Then they hardened their position : “ We cannot continue arguing with you. The police are giving you a warning. You are asked to leave the place. ” It looked like things would become violent.
Then Fr. de Nantes began to recite the Rosary with the members of the CRC who all knelt down. In their midst, the plain clothes policemen remained standing. There they were, suddenly identified and feeling very embarrassed. The carabinieri affected an air of detachment. They held their heads up high. “ We meditated on the sorrowful mysteries and then the glorious mysteries. A police officer ended in reciting the Ave’s with us while the others bore their discomfort in patience. We would later learn that, among the various people who said the Rosary with us, there was a man sent by the Holy Office, a priest sent by Cardinal Villot, a priest from Saint-Louis-des-Français, and a man from the French embassy at the Vatican... all of them ‘ stool pigeons ’ who had come to spy on us ! ”64
“ Meanwhile, two of our members went around the barricade and attempted to enter incognito. ”65 Alas, Jean Loup-Perret, owing to his height, was noticed, stopped and searched. The police found a copy of the Liber on him. Our friend was manhandled and led away to the police station... However, Charles Convent managed to enter the Bronze Door, and passing through the various offices, he came upon Msgr. Jacques Martin, the Prefect of the Pontifical House. He offered him a copy of the Liber. Terrified, Msgr. Martin pulled his hands back and refused to take it. “ I cannot. I have no orders to do so. ” Charles Convent then explained to him in a few sentences the reasons why he supported our Father’s appeal and he left the document on the prelate’s desk.
It was 11.30. The sixty representatives of the four thousand members of the “ Roman Legion ” had been waiting a few metres away from the Bronze Door for more than an hour. So, when Fr. de Nantes learned that the Liber accusationis had just been handed in at the Vatican by Mr. Convent, he informed the journalists of this and advised the police that his group would withdraw once they had been given an assurance that they would be allowed to move freely around in Rome. This they promised.
Such was the procedure used by Paul VI to avoid receiving Fr. de Nantes’ canonical complaint against his Person and to prevent any member of the Curia from
“ And so ”, he relates, “ in pursuit of the second part of our programme, we crossed the Square. But the chief of police immediately guessed where we were going, so a whole pack of police and carabinieri gave us chase and overtook us. When we reached the Palace of the Holy Office, they packed together so closely that we could not enter. It was an impossible situation ! We were denied contact with any office in the Curia ! We were forbidden to enter here as well... I thought of the time when I had been summoned to appear here as the accused. Now we had come as the accusers and they had called upon the Italian police to prevent us from entering. Ah, how terrified they were of this Liber accusationis ! And what a fear they all had of their implacable Master ! We would not have inspired such fear at the Vatican If Rome itself, eternal Rome, spoke the same language of truth as this Libellus. The Truth rang out too clearly here and even the stones themselves proclaimed it.
“ A few priests observed the scene, discreetly, from behind the windows of the Holy Office; some of our group shouted up at them to come down... They disappeared and shut the window. But none of them would come. So, they were playing dead here also ?
“ So then we turn back towards the Square. Our path is blocked. Further negotiations are called for. The police cannot understand this excessive use of force to stop a priest who has only a rosary in his hand and the good people who are constantly at prayer, and still less this fear of a book66. Everyone had manifestly had enough, and the journalists were not the last to display their indignation. So we were allowed to go to the obelisk and talk for a few minutes if we wanted. Thus, about half past twelve we concluded our demonstration with a prayer and a short moment of recollection, on our knees, facing the Palace window which remained closed, as a sign of our filial attachment to a Pope who refuses to consider us as his children, as a sign for the sovereign Judge who refuses to receive and examine this Book of Accusation in contempt of the duties of his office.
“ On our return to the hotel, we found the Libellus which had been handed to Msgr. Martin and which he had refused. An emissary of the Vatican had returned it two hours later in a sealed envelope, anonymously67. This would allow them to say that no copy of the rather too uncomfortable Libellus had been handed in.
“ This absolute snub, this closed palace, this absence of any ecclesiastical presence, this rough and unexpected contact with the police, and plain-clothes ones at that ! and these police hats ! It all made our friends feel quite unwell. In the afternoon we regained our composure by visiting several sanctuaries, including the Gésu, Saint Clement’s and the Mamertine. [...]
All references to the CRC journal relate to the original French edition.
1. CRC n° 28, January 1970, p. 1.
2. CRC n° 64, January 1973, p.1.
3. CRC n° 64, January 1973, p. 1.
4. CRC n° 64, January 1973, p. 2.
5. Cf. CRC n° 78, March 1974, p. 15.
6. CRC n° 65, February 1973, p. 15.
7. Cf. ibid.
8. Quoted in tract n° 8, CRC n° 63 supplement, December 1972.
9. Quoted in CRC n° 66, March 1973, p. 2.
11. Cf. also CRC n° 69, June 1973, p. 7.
12. CRC n° 65, February 1973, p. 1-2, extracts.
13. Th4a, “ The case of an heretical Pope ”, 2 hrs 30 mins. Audio cassettes can be obtained from the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
14. CRC n° 69, June 1973, p. 3-12.
15. CRC n° 69, June 1973, p. 11.
17. CRC n° 69, June 1973, p. 11.
18. Conference of March 1, 1973, ibid, p. 12.
19. Quoted in CRC n° 66, March 1973, p. 1.
20. Ibid, p. 2.
21. Fr. Georges de Nantes, Liber accusationis in Paulum Sextum [Liber I], Catholic Counter-Reformation publications, 1973, 103 pages.
22. CRC n° 66, March 1973, p. 2.
23. The taught Church.
24. The teaching Church.
25. Rom 12.1; cf. Pius IX, Qui pluribus, D.B. 1737.
26. Liber I, p. 4-5, extracts.
27. Liber I, p. 21.
28. Cf. Pour l'Église, volume II, chap. IV.
29. Liber I, p. 38.
30. Liber I, p. 39.
31. Liber I., p. 30, 40 and 44.
32. Ibid., p. 48.
33. Ibid., p. 49, extracts.
34. Liber I, p. 55.
35. Ibid., p. 55.
36. Liber I, p. 62, extracts.
37. Liber I, p. 68.
38. Liber I, p. 68.
39. This supposition might seem like a wholly unrealistic textbook case. But if the Fr. de Nantes envisaged it, it was not without reason. He wished to make the Pope, the cardinals and the bishops face up to their responsibilities regarding the hidden menace weighing on this pontificate, something they were far from being unaware of. Several years later, the scandal will be publicised by the press ,although it failed to move an indifferent public, cf. infra, p. 339.
40. Liber I, p. 69, extracts.
41. Ibid., p. 85-86.
42. Ibid., p. 88.
43. Liber I, p. 94.
44. Ibid., p. 97, extracts.
45. Ibid., p. 99.
46. Cf. supra, p. 134.
47. Liber I, p. 102.
48. Quoted in the CRC n° 66, March 1973, p. 2.
49. CRC n° 65, February 1973, p. 15.
50. CRC n° 67, April 1973, p. 2.
51. Ibid., p. 2.
52. “ What happened at Rome in April 1973 ”, an account dated April 24, 1973 and published in Itineraires n° 177, Nov 1973.
53. CRC no 67, p. 2.
54. L 13, “ La Contre-Réforme à Rome ”, two hours, obtainable from the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
55. L 13, “ La Contre-Réforme à Rome ”.
56. “ What happened at Rome ”, op. cit.
57. “ In my opinion ”, our friend points out, “ the reason why the government official (a fierce communist we were told) and the police were involved was not simply to prevent us from speaking. The idea was that, having been forced out on to the streets, everyone would be picked up on the pretext of having disturbed the public order, something which a few agents provocateurs would see to, and then we would be expelled from Italy. As I was able to appreciate on Wednesday, this is a method which is systematically applied in Rome to expel undesirable foreigners! ” “ What happened at Rome ”, op. cit.
58. CRC n° 67, April 1973, p. 2.
59. CRC n° 67, p. 2.
60. “ What happened at Rome ”, op. cit.
61. CRC n° 67, p. 2.
62. “ What happened at Rome ”, op. cit.
63. CRC n° 67, April 1973, p. 3, extracts.
64. “ What happened at Rome ”, op. cit.
65. CRC n° 67, April 1973, p. 3.
66. The Swiss Guards were themselves very impressed by Fr. de Nantes and his friends. We would learn this a few months later from the father of one of them. Their superiors had actually declared that Fr. de Nantes was a dangerous man who wanted to kill the Pope. Now, the one whose testimony was communicated to us, was able to observe Fr. de Nantes before the Bronze Gate on that April 10, 1973, and he noticed his dignity, his calm and his devotion, so much so that he could not understand why their superiors had warned them so strongly about this priest.
67. In his book, Mes six papes. Souvenirs romains, Cardinal Jacques Martin would argue from the allegedly ridiculous and inadmissible character of Fr. de Nantes’ complaint in an attempt to excuse his own cowardice : “ April 16 [sic], 1973. A burlesque event: the coming to Rome of Fr. Georges de Nantes to hand the Pope a Liber accusationis, inviting him to resign and to recognise that he is ‘ heretical, schismatic and scandalous ’. I arranged for the lampoon that one of his sidekicks had handed to the Prefecture of the Pontifical House to be taken back to the hotel. The following day, at the Wednesday general audience, another one of his fanatics, stepping over the railings, attempted to put it in the Pope’s own hands. Booklet and person were both handed over to the Italian police for examination. ” (Mes six papes. Souvenirs romains, Mame, 1993, p. 150-151)