Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.
14. THE FORECAST OF THE STORM
THIS apostolate, the restoring of a parish, exercised at that time with the total support of the bishop, was obviously contrary to the progressivists’ and Modernists’ spirit of ‘ reform. ’ From the time of his seminary training, Fr. de Nantes had discerned and fought this spirit, the devastating effects of which he was then witnessing and which had been gathering momentum since the death of Pope Pius XII.
In the same time, he was witnessing the lightning progress of Russian Bolshevism, and soon of the decolonisation to which the traitor de Gaulle had consented like a coward. The only hope was the Church, which remains invested with the power of Christ Himself. This explains his enthusiasm, in February 1959, at the announcement of a new Council :
“ It seems to me that since the death of the holy Pope Pius X, ‘ in the thickening night, ’ we have not received a better piece of news than the opening of this Council. After naturalism and Modernism, progressivism undertook, in the service of the Adversary, to promote the decay of Christian society ; it will be brought into full light and condemned. ” 1
Without delay, he conducted the preliminary investigation of this condemnation that he desired for the salvation of civilisation. It would add an ardent polemic to the elevating tone of the Letters to My Friends, which until then had been purely spiritual.
THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH AND THE ANTICHRIST.
Written from October 1959 to May 1963, thirty-two letters, which are entitled “ The Mystery of the Church and the Antichrist, ” denounce – with a knowledge, a perspicacity, a judgement, a power that make them an unequalled monument in the history of the Church –, progressivism as “ the new heresy, far more serious than the worst heresies of former times. ” This heresy, buttressed by a depraved mysticism and spread by false prophets, “ unfailingly leads those who succumb to it into fighting against the Church of Jesus Christ in every way and on every front, and in the end it leads to denying the true Faith in order to enlist in the great army of the Antichrist. ” 2
“ Whoever has seen that is unable to remain silent !... ”
“ I accuse progressivism of separating us from Jesus Christ Our Lord and of constructing a wall between Him and us, and of painting thereon a vulgar, ugly, hurtful image, which progressivists give us to adore under the name of ‘ the Christ. ’ Thus their main work ends in drying up hearts, tearing them from their devotion and casting them like orphans into a soulless world, to propagate an amorphous and murky doctrine. ” 3
“ The progressivist is only interested in a certain idea of the Church and it is quite clear that he only belongs to the Roman Catholic Church in order to reform her and align her with the idea he has formed of her [...]. He lives in and by the Church without loving her for what she is, but only captivated by what she is expected to become one day through his efforts. ” 4
Thus it is that progressivism forms a “ sect ” in the Church that dreams of adapting her to the modern world and of reconciling her with all her past and present enemies.
“ A chilling thought, however, arises. We are told that new times are near when Christians will dare to forget this Cross, which gives them life, in order to disarm their enemies ! The love of Jesus being lost, indifference to truth and justice have followed, and now the great plan for the last times has been announced : all of mankind, Christians and pagans, yesterday enemies like Herod and Pilate, like the Jews and the Romans, will be reconciled, weary of so many useless battles, in order to tear out of the earth this Cross and impose a definitive silence upon Jesus. It is too difficult to obtain from the wicked that reparation be made for the crime of the Crucifixion, so let it be wiped out ! Man’s future, his peace and wellbeing are at stake, so it is better for one Man to disappear from history rather than for the multitude to suffer. Such is the greatest revolution of all time, the only truly radical revolution, opening up for mankind a new era in which science and prosperity will create a new world of truly united people ! ” 5
“ Who will resist, other than the lovers of Jesus and His Cross? ” 6
Villemaur was the first battleground of this fight against the revolution that was underway in the Church. At first it was silent, then open war, with a first objective : defence of French Algeria and its Christian community. For the parish priest, it ended in an ab officio suspension. The fight was a harbinger of the one that he would wage at Maison Saint-Joseph from 1963 to his death in 2010, against universal apostasy, the fruit of the Second Vatican Council, which earned him an a divinis suspension.
OPPOSITION IN THE DEANERY.
Yet there was no lack of good confreres who held him in esteem to the point of entrusting to him the preaching of the retreats for men. He himself held in high regard this “ prewar ” clergy who were “ extraordinarily mindful of etiquette, that is to say, all these acts of courtesy that foster mutual esteem and mutual respect, and avoid upsetting others. ”
He happily participated in the deanery suppers at Estissac but, he wrote to a correspondent, “ there were revolutionaries there who came full of disrespect for the canons and for the dean. They came there above all to lead the debate and turn the conversation in their direction; in short, they are barbarians. ”
They were none other than the priests of the Mission of France, who exercised their ‘ ministry ’ in the parishes of the Othe forest. Reserved towards fervent Catholics, they sought the friendship of the Communists, according to a spirit that would soon prevail at the Council. Habitually hostile to all that seemed to them to be too pious and belonging to a bygone era, they began to regard the parish priest of Villemaur as an adversary.
The latter wrote to the brothers on May 30, 1959 :
“ In the diocese, the current craze is to organise ‘ téléclubs ’ everywhere. I criticised them at Estissac before a dense group from the Mission de France ; it was repeated throughout the diocese, and now here I am excommunicated from the modern Church. Fortunately, the ancient Church is standing firm around here ! What sectarianism though ! ”
A more serious incident took place in October 1959 :
“ The session to open the year’s diocesan meetings was interrupted for me in a way that deserves to be related. The priests from the Mission de France, barely shook my hand without looking at me ; I was not too appalled by that. Then the conference took place, and the dinner. It was almost finished. We had heard these young teams scoffing at processions, and public worship in general disadvantageously compared to the temporal commitment of the A.C.O. teams [Workers’ Catholic Action] and other movements. They disapproved of a preacher who had told a true story that put worker priests in a bad light and they declared on this subject that things could not be judged in an office, but on the job. In short, it was the sect’s usual propaganda.
“ A particularly talkative curate end up explaining to me that, nevertheless, he believed in the miracle of Favernay (this monstrance 7 that remained suspended in the air for two days in the 17th century above a repository altar that had accidently been burned to ashes)… ‘ There were two hosts… Yes, because in those days, they used a monstrance, you know what that is ? Not a thingamajig (and his finger made a round gesture in the air : thus, an ostensorium !) Ah ! Ah ! We take it out only once a year (here he gave his dean a jovial glance of complicity) ; there are others who take it out all the time, every day even ! If it amuses them, it’s fine with me !... ’ I cut him short : ‘ Just whom are you talking about ? ’ He answered me with fierce insolence : “ I’m not attacking anyone ! ” I got up and went out slamming the door. Upon my return here (to Villemaur,) happy with what I had done, I started to dig in the garden, ” 8 He did so until he was out of breath…
OPPOSITION IN THE PARISH.
In October 1960, in the Bulletin of Our Lady of Holy Hope, the parish priest of Villemaur wrote about Fr. Emmanuel, Mesnil’s parish priest :
“ The more the parish becomes edifying, the more the priest applies himself to it, the more the dawdlers, the nonchalant, and the opponents will attract attention, the more visible they will be, and inevitably tend to move in the opposite direction, to unify themselves in an inert and resisting block, family against family. No one wanted it and everyone declares that he has nothing at heart other than the unity and the peace of the village. At least, this is what is said and it appears so ; everyone would willingly lay the blame for the division at the parish priest’s door. ” 9
This is exactly what happened at Villemaur.
At Christmas 1959, Fr. de Nantes attacked from the pulpit “ a son of Satan ” by quoting him : “ I would be quite happy if God appeared to me, but as an equal ! ” Before replying to him, Father pointed to the crib : “ Be quiet, Jaurès 10 ! The Child who is there is much greater than you ! ”
Certain parishioners were scandalised : “ Father is talking politics ! ”
On March 22, 1960, he wrote to Brother Gérard :
“ I am able to say many things in my sermons and one can feel that little by little peoples’ minds are changing. For example, concerning the visit of Khrushchev, and also the petition against subsidies for Catholic schools, drawn up by the teachers of the republican schools. Although it smacks of pure secularism, Miss Jotte signed the petition for which a small teacher from the state secular school, a practicing Catholic doing teaching practice here, is collecting signatures. I gave a long sermon on the subject, enlightening people about the dirty tricks of this nasty bunch from the state schools and the hidden side of the affair. At the same time I put my finger on the sore point : the dualism of Miss Jotte’s soul – secular and Christian. Obviously it was hard to swallow. ”
He attacked from the pulpit the Debré law that good right-wing people approved : the free schools (Catholic) were finally going to be subsidised by the State ! Yes ! They would, however, be controlled ! Thus, they would no longer be free ! So, no to subsidies ! At the same time, however, he denounced the hypocrisy of the leftists who feigned to take umbrage at the nation’s money being given to the schools of the priests, but who found it quite normal that it go to the schools of the imams and that the godless schools be financed by the money of the French who are 85 % Catholic (in 1960).
We can easily imagine the dissatisfaction of the Christian Democrats of the congregation, such as ‘ old man Duclos, ’ a former Communist. At the church in Pâlis, he usually sat close to the reed organ. He resolved that, during the sermon, he would go sit at the back of the church and open conspicuously his missal to immerse himself in it. Did he really read it ? Believe it if you like!
THE FONDATION CONFIRMED.
In this difficult context full of contrasts, in which the good seed mixes with the weeds our Father wanted to ensure the foundation of our congregation.
The bishop, after having dreamt of keeping this priest and his brothers for his sole service, and to make them ‘ diocesan missionaries, ’ had finally accepted the project of a veritable religious order in the spirit of Fr. de Foucauld. He appreciated and supported Villemaur’s parish priest whom he called “ my dear fellow. ” A serious disagreement, however, was about to break out between them on the subject of Algeria. Bishop Le Couëdic was passionately Gaullist and personally indifferent to the fate of Algeria since, as he confided to our Father, he knew no one there !
“ That was when, ” our Father related, “ that I received from Heaven the inspiration of asking our bishop proof of his firm resolve to see us truly found this Community of missionary monks. Everything was indicating to us that it would soon be intolerable to all the political and ecclesiastic powers of the moment. While awaiting the canonical establishment of this new congregation, would he allow us to don the monastic choir habit, the white Cistercian cowl? Bishop Le Couëdic – o miracle ! – granted us this sign of benevolence. It was the last one that he would grant, and I bless God for having inspired me with this extraordinary request.
“ On August 6, 1961, we received the monastic cowl from the hand of Bishop Le Couëdic, of Troyes, in the choir of the admirable collegiate church of Villemaur. ” 11
In fact, it was the opportune moment ! Two years later, while Father was evicted from his parishes and Brother Gérard and I were refused advancement to Holy Orders because of our fidelity to Fr. de Nantes, we heard the Superior of the Carmelite Seminary, telling us :
“ We have let one Fr. de Nantes slip through, we are not going to let another one through ! ”
Nevertheless, the ceremony of August 6, 1961 established in medio Ecclesiæ an Order of which the reasons for existing only clearly appear today. We were, however, led by Providence.
THE TRAGEDY OF FRENCH ALGERIA.
In 1962 the final fate of Algeria, a French province, a land of Christendom, combined with that of Fr. de Nantes, who was also resolutely opposed to de Gaulle. This opposition was not for ‘ political ’ but for religious reasons, since from the outset our Father had understood de Gaulle’s diabolical game.
In fact, six months after May 13, 1958 he wrote to us :
“ Why is de Gaulle’s betrayal so disgraceful ? It is because on May 13, all of real France, the decent souls, the good Christians, the men of order commissioned this man to dismiss the parties, the men of division and hatred, the traffickers of the System, to put an end to the democracy that exhausts us and of which we are dying. Thus brought to Power, de Gaulle arbitrarily took advantage of this confidence that had been entrusted to him, concealing the dirty manoeuvre under the shadow of his uniform that inspires respect : he revives the parties, he extends democratic election to the Empire, loses Guinea –where a negro Communist dictator ruthlessly rules – and behind the scenes he hatches an agreement with the FLN and shows kindness only towards anticlerical and state-controlled socialism. The Liberation that brought him to the summit of power will end up, through him, tightening political slavery ; the national reaction in Algeria that ought to bring an end to the war with our peaceful victory will end up in the secession or the legal abandoning of this land which, without him, would soon be Christian and French. God grant that I be wrong or that an assistance from Providence save us from this man ! ” 12
With the passing months, the mask of the deceitful speeches fell. Of course, calm still prevailed in our French departments in North Africa where the army continued to fulfil its function. Yet within a year, the abandoning of Algeria would be accomplished. From April 1961 to March 1962, the negotiations undertaken by the French government with the rebellion would end in the victory of the worst, and in the blood of martyrs.
On January 1, 1962, the parish priest of Villemaur evoked the example of these martyrs without suspecting that he was speaking like Our Lady in the Third Secret of Fatima : “ It is necessary to choose between the ‘ course of History ’ and France, between the Church and the Revolution. The ambiguity is resolved in the blood of the witnesses [the Algerians who wanted to remain faithful to France] whose throats are slit by those [Bishop Duval of Algiers, de Gaulle and all who supported him] who were commissioned to defend them Simply put, the balance-beam of the divine scales reckons the number of martyrs of every morning [...]. Oh Holy Mother Church, when will you stand up to take in hand the defence of your unhappy children ? When will you go with them to prison and death ? When will the martyrs find you with them, among them, compassionate and proud, instead of seeing you appear continually in the company of their oppressors ? ” 13
With a totally supernatural audacity, he spoke the truth from the pulpit concerning the failure of the putsch of April 22, 1961, relaying the anguished appeal that a canon of Bône had addressed to him : “ In these sombre hours for the Church and for Algeria, may Our Lady and St. Augustine help us : on the verge of despair, our faithful think that the Church and France are abandoning them to the fanatical ambitions of Islam supported by Moscow. Pray for us ! ” (June 21, 1961)
On the occasion of July 14, 1961, our Father had compared “ a demonstration of the FLN with the killings of 1789. The common mainspring of these crazy ideas is the slogan of ‘ Liberty, Equality, … or death. ’ What odd Fraternity is this ideal society and these purges required to achieve it ! Pope St. Pius X said it concerning the Christian democrats of the Sillon : “ Their eyes fixed on a chimera, they bring Socialism in its train ” in bloodshed!
“ Madame Elisabeth’s advice was still valid : ‘ To cut off three heads would avoid much bloodshed. ’ ” (July 16, 1961)
At Midnight Mass, when the parishioners brought gifts for the poor children of the Sahara for whom I, an officer in a Meharist company, was the teacher, our Father encouraged them : “ It is the charity of the Catholic Church, brethren ! ” When de Gaulle liberated two thousand fellaghas and imprisoned the members of the OAS, Father, galvanised by the same charity, exclaimed : “ Brethren, love of neighbour commands us to oppose this law ! ”
That caused a stir, even as far as the corridors of Power !
SEARCH AND INTERNMENT.
On Wednesday March 14, 1962, four inspectors came to the presbytery of Villemaur with a search warrant and a warrant for police custody. It was a few days before the signature of the Evian accords that handed Algeria over to the FLN. A propaganda operation in favour of French Algeria led by member of the parish youth club had alerted the local police stations.
From the pulpit, Father declared that he “ did not have any plastic explosives, or a stock of weapons, or pamphlets ” and that he “ was not involved in any plot. ” He cautioned, however, that if he was put in jail, “ it would be for having openly declared that the capitulation of M. de Gaulle was the most shameful event of our history. ”
The policemen confiscated an imposing stone used to duplicate tracts and a stock of paper. They searched during three hours, reading Father’s papers. “ Well, well ! You are not in agreement with your superiors, ” one of them exclaimed when he discovered on the desk a copy of his critique of the Declaration of the Cardinals and Archbishops condemning “ violence from any source whatever. ” (October 13, 1961) 14
Finally they took Father to the police station along with Brother Christian who had returned from Algeria in January, and a few of the boys from the parish youth club – the ‘ OAS propagandists ! ’ After having questioned the latter and acknowledged their innocence, they brought them back to Villemaur that very evening, but they kept Fr. de Nantes, who spent the night at the police station, and wrote a statement that the police superintendent described as “ an insult to the head of state ”. Father replied that the insult was found in the General’s acts rather than in the words that denounced them.
He wrote on March 24 : “ I dissociate myself from a clergy that, either out of blindness, cowardice or democratic, liberal or revolutionary ideology, defends the Muslim FLN, world Communism, the power that betrays, tortures, lies and corrupts everything ; against the French and Christians who want to remain free in a French, Christian land. May God assist us in this sad combat. ” 15
The instructions that he gave to his brothers were : “ Let us pray, sacrifice ourselves and preach the Truth. ” 16
After thirteen days of internment… in the seminary, he obtained his bishop’s permission to return to his parishes. Already his courageous attitude was bearing fruit. “ Through politics, ” Max Broquet related, “ Father had won back people who did not go to Mass, but who went afterwards. Many people started coming to Mass because of Father’s position on de Gaulle. ”
It was precisely “ the rallying of one former anticlerical or another to Father’s banner, ” that provoked the hatching of a plot to obtain his departure.
His bishop, however, did not abandon him immediately and, providentially, our Father remained in his parishes another sixteen months. This extension allowed his influence to grow ; people came from Troyes and even further away to hear him preach.
It was also at that time that he began to make known the account of the conversation of Sister Lucy with Fr. Fuentes on December 26, 1957, in which the seer revealed that “ the most Blessed Virgin is very sad, for no one takes notice of Her message, neither the good nor the bad. The good continue on their way without setting any store by the message. The bad, failing to see God’s punishment already falling upon them, continue their sinful lives without worrying about the message. But believe me, Father, God is going to chastise the world, and it will be in a terrible manner. ” 17
Disciplinary action was taken against Fr. Fuentes because of this publication and Sister Lucy was forbidden to receive parlour visits and to carry on correspondence.
Fr. de Nantes warned his parishioners about the “ diabolical disorientation, ” 18 according to Sister Lucy’s own words in her letters of those years, which had taken hold of minds in the Church. On July 1, 1962, on the occasion of the independence of Algeria, he wrote : “ The perjured Christian handed Algeria over to the Muslim assassin. ” 19 It was on a Sunday, the feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus, that Father proclaimed from the pulpit :
“ Brethren, never have Christians and civilised people been so indifferent to bloodshed as they are in our time, and I am thinking of blood shed for our own defence and our salvation [...]. Consequently, how can the Blood shed by Jesus Christ to gain our salvation nineteen hundred years ago move us if we are indifferent to that of our brethren near at hand today ? ” 20
In August, as a protest against the maintaining of the parish priest of Villemaur at his post, the majority of the town councillors – four of whom were Communists – tendered their resignation to the prefect and informed the population that the town hall would be closed on August 23 awaiting new municipal elections.
JOHN XXIII CONDEMNS THE “ PROPHETS OF DOOM. ”
On Sunday, September 23, 1962, Father announced a novena to the Holy Spirit, with a view to preparing for the opening of the Second Vatican Council on October 11.
The first news that he had received about it came from his housekeeper, Miss Andrée, as he related it to his bishop :
“ The evening of this memorable day, as we came out of the exercises for the month of the Rosary, a parishioner who has the intuitive and profound common sense of a countrywoman, approached me and said : ‘ The Pope condemns you. ’
“ ‘ What ? ’
“ ‘ Yes, I listened to his speech on the radio. It is the complete opposite of what you tell us from the pulpit. ’
“ ‘ Think of that ! ’
“ I was shaken. The reading of this document convinced me that a new spirit was going to raise a storm in the Church, a spirit of smug optimism and universal reform, which was indeed contrary to my convictions and cautiousness, Excellency; as it was to your own, at that time. ” 21
In fact, “ the first session [of the Second Vatican Council] ended in the victory of the reformist party. Its rehabilitation has continued ever since, more and more solemn and provocative. I was not in tune with it… ” 22
No ! That was obvious ; Father was still leading his parishioners on the road to Heaven, was still organising the Sacred Heart vigils… “ They were once a month, ” he related later on, “ on the first Fridays. It was a great success, from a hundred and fifty to two hundred farmers who, on each first Friday of the month, put on clean suits and arrived after supper. It lasted for three hours. A short hour-long sermon, another hour during which they went to confession and, in the third hour, it was Mass ; since they were well-confessed, they all received Communion.
“ One day an ecclesiastic said to me :
“ ‘ So, where does it lead them ? ’He meant : does it lead them to joining the trade union, to getting involved in politics ?
“ ‘ It leads to nothing of the sort. ’
“ ‘ To what then ? ’
“ ‘ It leads them to going to confession and receiving Communion once a month. ’
“ ‘ And that will go on how long ? ’
“ ‘ It will go on until their death. ’
“ ‘ Until their death ? ’
“ He did not have the Faith. ” 23
This ecclesiastic was one of the two vicar-generals of the Diocese of Troyes.
Nevertheless, in the parishes, Holy Week in this year of 1963, which was to be the last, was particularly fervent. Never had it been attended so assiduously. On Easter Sunday, the three churches of Planty, Pâlis and Villemaur were packed full and Communions were more numerous than ever. This shows that the good group of practicing Catholics, which continued to grow little by little, remained faithfully attached to their parish priest. And this is what they wanted to destroy ?
ABANDONED BY ROME.
On April 11, 1963, John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris was published. It was unanimously praised in the press. As for Fr. de Nantes, he gave an analysis of it in his letter of April 28, 1963, that was more than reserved :
“ No one will convince us, no one will legitimately order us to substitute in our hearts the optimistic faith in the new world for the love of the fatherland, no one will persuade us to disarm or to entrust ourselves to a Khrushchev-Kennedy world government and, still less, to collaborate with Communists or Islam. It must be known, in Rome and in Paris, that there are renunciations and betrayals that are impossible for a French Catholic. The blood of our martyrs proves it. ” 24
In Troyes, however, Bishop Le Couëdic soon made his decision known : he enjoined the parish priest of Villemaur to leave the parishes and the diocese within fifteen days, but then he granted him a delay of six months.
Our Father went to Rome at the time of John XXIII’s death and Paul VI’s election, in order to seek support, “ not against my bishop, but in order to find a solution that would not compromise the future. Well ! I was betrayed, and I know full well by whom. I understood that it is vain to importune men in high places and functionaries when one is defeated by life. It is asking them too much to have them board a ship in distress when Jesus seems to be asleep on it. ” 25
Take for example Bishop Pierre-Paul Philippe, who was Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Religious. After having read the “ Provisional Rule of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, ” he gave a very positive response in favour of recognising it. He laid down the sole condition that Fr. de Nantes renounce defending French Algeria.
“ Excellency, ” our Father answered him, “ the defence of my assassinated brethren, is in any case, an imperative duty imposed on me by Christian morality ; recognition of the Order, which I have just requested of you, depends only on God’s good pleasure. If this design is in keeping with His Will, it will come about in due time. I could not pay for this official recognition at the cost of a clearly immoral act, and one that for me is gravely culpable. ” 26
For the same motive, Brother Gérard and I were refused advancement to Holy Orders. During their parish priest’s trip to Rome, the men of Villemaur asked to meet Bishop Le Couëdic. Max Broquet was one of them :
“ He granted an audience and the parishioners told him that they had a good priest and they asked that he remain, for they did not see why he was being taken away. The bishop told them that he no longer had the confidence of all his parishioners. Then they told the bishop that the opponents were those who do not go to Mass. The bishop did not have any valid arguments and was ill-at-ease to reply. He took the book of Canon Law from a shelf and then, tapping on it, he became angry and said that it had been decided thus and he would not yield. It was arbitrary power. ” 27
On August 15, 1963, Fr. de Nantes wrote to his friends :
“ I have been threatened with it for a long time, I saw the storm that would uproot me approaching, and now it is no longer more than a matter of days. On September 15, I will have to leave my parishes, Villemaur, its church so permeated with prayerful atmosphere and so beautiful, my peaceful presbytery in which I received so many of you, and above all this group of true Christians, lucid and strong heads of families, holy women, good children to whom five years of paternal, even maternal, devotion have so strongly attached me. So many Masses, Vespers, vigils have assembled us in perfect communion ! I always communicated to them my true thoughts, they shared all our concerns, our fears and our joys. I drag them a little into my misfortune. Perhaps they may suffer from it, suffer on account of it more than I, like the parents of those who leave to follow the divine Master. Those who remain have their hearts rent ! ” 28
“ YOUR FIDELITY TO THE CHURCH. ”
On Sunday, September 15, the churches of the three parishes were packed full at each Mass, a small crowd of friends having come to join the parishioners. In his sermon uttered with tears, Father recalled briefly the function of a priest :
“ It is the worship of God. The priest is the man of God, he who raises eyes towards God, he who fills the intelligences, the hearts, and the entire life of men with Him. His cassock (Oh, how we love it !...) bears witness to this superior concern. His simple and frugal life, his ceaseless ministry continually recall to his faithful and to others that God exists, loves them and calls them. His word adds to this a clear definition of the will of God ; finally, liturgical worship and prayer carries souls towards God in a foreshadowing of eternal life.
“ The priest is also, is therefore, a sign of contradiction, which takes the forms that God wills, according to the parishes and the circumstances. The God Whom he bears within himself, Whom he gives, makes him esteemed and loved immensely by the good, and detested and hated by the wicked. It is already God’s judgement : ‘ He who hears you hears Me. He who scorns you scorns Me ’… ‘ He who hears Me, hears My Father ’… This love and this hatred have thousands of occasions to express themselves in daily life, and sometimes, great general difficulties give them a comprehensive, intense form in which everyone is swept along and forced to choose. The time of trial has come… ‘ The hour of sin, of justice and of judgement, ’ as Jesus said to His Apostles. The redemptive Cross looms on the road. Blessed are they who, faithful and compassionate, are close to the priest then !
“ It is good : ‘ Bonum mihi quia humiliasti me, ut discam justificationes tuas. It is good for me to have been humiliated by You, in order to learn the ways of Your grace. ’ The trial that is borne sorrowfully and valiantly for Jesus Christ is meritorious ; it attaches us more to the Church, it leads to victory, here below and in the other world. Thus all continues. People will be surprised to see your faithfulness to the Church, whoever the priest that she sends to you may be : he is always the representative of Jesus Christ, provided that he teach you the truth of the Faith and not fables, that he lead you to the pure sources of grace, which are the Sacraments, that he counsels you according to the will of God, and not the whims of men or the fashions and frenzy of the world.
“ This is what I will ask of God through Mary… ”
THE COMBAT CONTINUES.
The departure took place on Monday, September 16, 1963, after a final Mass at Villemaur. Direction : Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes, in the same diocese, whereas the bishop would have preferred them elsewhere, far, very far away, even out of the Church !
“ Expelled from Villemaur, undesirable elsewhere, what else could we have done, my Little Brothers and I, other than to retire into our Maison Saint-Joseph, live there in community in prayer and work, but determined to pursue with all our might the counter-revolutionary combat ! We were able to do so thanks to the protection of divine Providence, the solicitude of good and great Saint Joseph; yet it was the continual and admirable acts of generosity of our friends that were their blessed instrument. ” 29
A new stage began in which our Father, freed from the care of his parish, devoted himself to the defence of the Church against the Reform of Vatican II. “ His mission concerned the whole Church, ” as Max, his faithful parishioner, had well understood, and as provided for in our Rule :
“ Their retired life will not be an escape into timelessness, and their desire for the return of Christ will never be accompanied by discouragement or disinterest, let alone contempt, for the destiny of the Church of today. ” (Art. 23)
From October 1962, our Father had been alarmed. He kept, however, total confidence in the Church and her age-old institutions : “ The Council is not a session of illuminism [...].Here we shall have an assembly where God alone will be Sovereign. Its very institution makes it an instrument of salvation, contrary to the revolution. ” Nevertheless : “ It is, I say, a great evil to talk of a Roman Catholic Council as if God did not exist, as if Truth and Goodness were totally unknown or up for grabs or capable of being reformed by decrees, as though we had to wait for this Council’s decisions in order to know whether the Catechism spoke truly, and to know who was right. John XXIII is not de Gaulle. This state of mind is unworthy. On the pretext of total obedience, it casts a general doubt on the Faith and morality. ” 30
The following letter, for the feast of Christ the King, made the connection between the renunciation of Christendom – Algeria had been handed over on July 1 – and the denial of Jesus Christ :
“ Who then is this king that is preferred to Jesus Christ ? Pay attention, Friend-Reader ! The throbbing of your heart will let you know if you worship him. This king is you. It is Man [...]. The temple in which this worship is practiced is politics, and no one has the right to enter it unless it is to adore and serve liberty. The priests of this worship are both the philosophers and the politicians, and their religion has a venerated name : Democracy. ” 31
This ‘ religion, ’ which he had seen at work since 1944, was going to triumph at the Council by the ministry of its high priests.
(1) Letter to My Friends no. 50.
(2) Letter no. 58, October 1959.
(3) Letter no. 77, November 1960.
(4) Letter no. 86, April 1961.
(5) Letter no. 136, Holy Week 1963.
(6) Letter no. 141, Ascension 1963.
(7) To understand this episode it must be understood that, in former times, two distinct liturgical objects were used to expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration : a monstrance and an ostensorium. The term monstrance originally referred to an object that was more like a reliquary in its form and its function. The two sacred Hosts that were placed in a monstrance remained in it as though it were a tabernacle. Its exterior panels were opened for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was in such a monstrance thatthe miraculous Hosts of Favernay were exposed. The term ostensorium originally referred to a liturgical object in which only a single Host is placed in a circular transparent receptacle, and only during the time that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to the adoration of the faithful. In our account, the words are used in their original ancient meaning. Oddly enough, the monstrance [the reliquary-like object] has fallen into disuse, although the term itself lived on in English by totally replacing the term ostensorium.
(8) Letter to Brother Christian, of October 24, October 1959. Archives of the Community.
(9) The articles on Fr. Emmanuel’s life, which were published in the Bulletin of the Work of Our lady of Holy Hope from January 1960 to April 1962, have been gathered into a book : “ A Priest and the Virgin Mary, ” editions CRC, 1985.
(10) Jean Jaurès, the impious, anticlerical leader of the French Socialist party at the beginning of the 20th century until his assassination on July 31, 1914.
(11) CRC no. 157, September 1980, p. 14.
(12) Letter of November 3, 1958, archives of the Community.
(13) Letter to My Friends no. 100, of January 1st, 1962.
(14) This critical study was published in extenso in For the Church, Vol. I, pp. 231-245.
(15) Letter to the brothers, of March 24, 1962. Archives of the Community.
(16) Letter of March 27, 1962. Archives of the Community.
(17) Cf. Brother François de Marie des Anges, Fatima Salvation of the World, p. 279.
(18) Letters of sister Lucy of July 3, 1958 and July 25, 1962.
(19) Letter to My Friends no. 112 of July, 1 1962.
(20) Quoted in For the Church, Vol. I, pp. 207-210.
(21) Letter to Bishop Le Couëdic, of December 19, 1965, published in Letter to My Friends no. 220, pp. 2-3.
(22) Ibid., p. 3.
(23) Sermon of September 10, 2000.
(24) Letter to My Friends no. 139.
(25) CRC no. 110, p. 5.
(26) For the Church, Vol. I, p. 366.
(27) He is Risen no. 110, October 2011, p. 31.
(28) Letter to My Friends no. 150.
(29) Letter to My Friends no. 183 of September 15, 1964.
(30) Letter to My Friends no. 120 of October 11, 1962.
(31) Letter to My Friends no. 121, of October 28, 1962.