Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.
15. AT THE COUNCIL,
THE SECT SEIZED POWER
ON September 15, 1963, the Community of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart began its monastic life at Maison Saint-Joseph, “ as lost children of the Church ” 1. Our Father insisted on remaining in the diocese of Troyes, since we were honourably known there. In the evening following our arrival, we went to the Parish church of Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes in order to make our first visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and chanted vespers in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin. It was the fifth anniversary of our foundation.
While brother Christian entered the second year of philosophy at the seminary in Reims, brother Gérard and I stayed at Maison Saint-Joseph with our Father and master in order to prepare to obtain. “ as auditors,” the degree of theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris at the end of the year.
At the precise moment when the first session of the Council was opening the Church to a boundless love that was to bring about the great universal reconciliation, we – Brother Gérard and I – were refused advancement 2 to Holy Orders. Nevertheless, we were not unhappy to leave the seminary to rejoin our Father and to lead with him a community life inspired by Father de Foucauld. He had sought to “ descend ”, remaining a long time distant from the priesthood due to the honour which is attached to it, in order to rejoin Our Lord, our “ Unique Model ”, in the “ abjection ”of the “ last place ”. Since we wanted to imitate him, was not seeing our Father Superior and Founder suspens ab officio, only authorised to celebrate Mass in the Village Church before dawn and without singing, and ourselves, novices, barred admission to the Priesthood, a good start for a congregation that claims to abide by his spirit ?
“ If we lose everything, are scorned, expelled, what does it matter, since it is in the service of God and souls, ” our Father wrote on May 14, 1963 to Brother Christian. “ I love, we love so much this Truth and this Church for which we are hated that this martyrdom is a joy. My only concern is to remain very faithful to the wisdom and prudence of God; for you, my sons, it is to embrace truly my thoughts and decisions. ” 3 Relieved of all “ office ”, our Father was free to follow the unfolding of the Council when its second session was beginning, and we saw him day after day applying himself to it with jealous zeal.
“ I WILL PLEAD FOR MY MOTHER. ”
“ The first session may not have compromised anything, but a deplorably bad and formidable spirit became evident within the Assembly itself and in its appendages : press, radio and the various parties. ” 4
The reformist and progressivist clan exulted, first and foremost Fr. Congar, who saw his grand plan of “ reform of the Church ” 5 becoming the obligatory reference, according to the Sovereign Pontiff himself : “ He is one of the theologians who contributed the most to preparing Vatican II and his thought is honoured by the Council Fathers. ” 6 As for Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, he declared that the absence of the approval of a single conciliar text at the end of the first session was proof of a “ strong reaction against the spirit that had underlain the preparatory work ; ” his friend Hans Küng triumphed, saying that what had once been the dream of the avant-guard in the Church, “ had spread and, thanks to the Council, had penetrated the entire atmosphere of the Church. ” 7 In the meanwhile, their common master, the German theologian Karl Rahner, had a pirate schema circulated among the Council Fathers, that was soon to be submitted for their consideration.
A Roman seminarian informed the former parish priest of Villemaur about it. After having read it, he was struck by the audaciousness of this programme :
“ It leaves a terrible impression of the Church’s suicide, of a capitulation before the other religions and ideologies of our times. It is the effacement and emptying out of the central mystery of our Faith, that of sin, of Redemption by the Cross, and Salvation through the Church alone [...]. There is nothing explicitly Catholic or even Christian in it : all religions are ‘ pedagogues ’ allowing men to work out their own salvation and to take part in the unification of the human race – the supreme goal ; there is no more diabolical power, no more human malice, nor segregation of sheep from goats. Here at last is revealed the universal religion that contains all other religions [...]. The very boldness of the authors of this schema hastens the hour when the full truth will be declared. The assembled Council, enlightened from on High, will tell us whether it is the best of a Catholic Faith in full evolution, or whether it is the worst of Satan’s dogmas. ” 8
To see the Church in the dock was more than Fr. de Nantes could bear. Consequently, he wrote a Letter on March 19, 1963 in which his filial love and his faith in the holiness of the Church shone forth :
“ The mere thought of belonging to the Church is enough to renew the jubilation of our souls, for the Church is Holy like her Spouse Jesus Christ, from Whom she has received such a likeness that there is nothing in this world so beautiful, so wise, so majestic as her face and her whole being. She is our Mother, and I add : she is the unique, incomparable Spouse ; she alone is holy, wise, sublime, leaving false religions and philosophies far behind in their delusive darkness [...].
“ It is only the violent love I bear for my Mother that leads me to tear, to snatch from her face and her body magnificently adorned by God Himself, these loathsome rags, these soiled and sacrilegious cloths in which the World and our Times seek to clothe her [...]. I shall carry my cry to the end. I will plead for my Mother. ” 9
THE FLOOD OF REFORMISM.
At the opening of the second session in October 1963, Fr. de Nantes immediately understood what was at stake in the debate on collegiality, what its objective was, and that it led to what Fr. Congar himself called the “ October Revolution ”. The very Constitution of the Church was modified by it : “ From being a personal power, whether that of the bishop in his diocese or that of the Pope over the entire Church, a power endowed with effective authority and personal responsibility, the Church changed to a government by a college or assembly, the characteristic of which is to put authority to the vote and to dilute responsibility to the point of rendering it anonymous. ” 10
Even then, a strong minority resisted in the Conciliar aula, and I remember how our Father was concerned about fighting alongside them with all his strength and all his influence. In Rome, he endeavoured to bring pressure to bear by circulating the Letters to My Friends. They circulated clandestinely and the print run continually increased : they were addressed to about three hundred friends in the spring of 1963 ; they reached three thousand subscribers in January 1964, and six thousand in September.
“ It is our inviolable right, Fr. de Nantes wrote in the same Letter no 156, to express to the four hundred defenders of ecclesiastical Tradition and the pontifical Primacy, our gratitude, our admiration, our entire confidence. ”
The conciliar debates assumed their full meaning in his writings : “ ‘ There cannot be authority, still less infallibility except in accordance with the Tradition, ’ Ottaviani proclaimed. ‘ You are hindering the Reform that we want, ’ Frings retorted, 11 ‘ be silent and obey because we are the majority. ’ The assembly applauded. One would never have believed that such an hour would have struck on the clock of St. Peter’s. Two thousand years of Catholic Faith had led us to believe with confidence that authority in the Church is a magisterium. How unfortunate we will be if tomorrow someone claims to submit us to an authority which frees itself from the control of the Faith, refuses to provide its proofs of orthodoxy and claims to adhere to a majority vote in order to impose itself ! [...] The Reformation is now swelling, it is spilling over from the aula to the square, into the newspapers, and throughout the world. The Church is going to change, is changing and has changed. ” 12
The supreme tribunal of the Holy Office in particular was the favourite target of the reformers, whose impassioned wish was to render it powerless. They achieved their aim on the day before the closing of the Council when Paul VI, by means of his motu proprio Integræ Servandæ, toppled and reduced to almost nothing this bastion of the Faith, this ministry of the spiritual police in the Church. He did not do so completely, however. On December 3, 1963, our Father wrote to friends of the Community : “ It seems to me that if we are a little thorn in the foot of Holy Church when she runs towards the infidels, although we are trampled underfoot, we are useful in that we slow down her flight by displaying our disapproval. ” 13
PAUL VI’S GRAND DESIGN.
There was no longer any hope of a recovery except in the Pope. In Bethlehem, on the feast of Epiphany, January 6, 1964, however, Paul VI, “ Paul-outside the Walls, ” declared : “ We must assure to the life of the Church a new manner of feeling, desiring, behaving. ” This is what was worrisome, even scandalous : a more explicit invitation to ‘ change religions ’ could not be formulated. “ Let all these old traditionalist Christians die. Afterward we will make a new Church ! ” as the parish priest of Chonas put it in a sermon.
As for our Father, he only knew one religion, the only true one that does not change, which he received from his father, Commander Marc de Nantes. This ‘ Christian true to Tradition ’ died on February 20, 1964, leaving his son the task of “ pursuing their work, continuing their sacrifice, honouring their memory, ” for it is “ men such as they who would have saved the Catholic Church and the Fatherland from the ruin into which they were rushing. ” 14
The following April 3, at the dawn of his fortieth year, Georges de Nantes said this prayer :
“ For the years that I have left to live, Lord, ‘ organise charity in me. ’ May Your love conquer and keep the first place, may it alone re-create me and inspire all my actions in the bottom of my heart. May its magnanimity always take me further into the profundity of Your mystery, may I not rest until I at last go to lose myself in the abyss of Your splendours. Since You will it, however, may this torment of Your glory not remain a secret ! May it also set ablaze those close to me. Give me fraternal charity and filial love in order that in the service of Holy Mother Church, my Mother, I may know how to repeat what has been taught to me, to teach in turn what first nourished, uplifted and delighted me, to kindle in the new generation this fire that others lit in my heart. ” 15
In the spring of 1964, after a tour of lectures on progressivism in the Church 16, “ I left for Rome, ” he recalled, “ not to ask for help or favour, but in order to know what could be hoped for in the new pontificate. Paul VI had not yet declared himself, people hesitated to place him in a camp, and that seemed good to me. The Pope ought to be above the parties, as their sovereign arbitrator. I saw him. His steely blue gaze struck me. Nevertheless, impressed by his speech on Wednesday, May 27 on the Virgin Mary, and by that of Corpus Christi on the 31st at Circolo Massimo, this conjunction of the Pope, the Virgin and the Eucharist made my fears vanish and I came back full of trust in Paul VI. ” 17
Father’s letters nos. 173 and 174 bear witness to this trust. Nevertheless, the encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, published on August 5, 1964, forced our Father to see through Paul VI’s plan once and for all. It was the charter of the pontificate, which presented itself as a Congarian reformism and a resolute and daring progressivism : the Church addressed to the World a declaration of general, unilateral peace, like a new Gospel.
“ I read it with my two-coloured pencil in my hand, red to underline what is good, clear, traditional, and blue for what is new, obscure, uncertain. That made large red patches of excellent doctrine that the traditionalist press would quote endlessly in order to reassure itself, but the blue spread over large zones, truly dominant, suggesting, announcing and imposing a new ‘ praxis. ’ It was a revolutionary pastoral approach within an unchanged orthodoxy, as if such a thing were possible ! [...] In this charter of the pontificate, I detected the announcement and the programme of immense calamities, of irreparable destructions. ” 18
“ On that day, I began the fight of the son against his Father, of the priest against the Pope : a crueller one cannot be conceived. ” 19
Bishop Le Couëdic raptly celebrated the encyclical in the Semaine religieuse of Troyes : “ The Church has in some sort espoused this world, which is so dear to her. ” Fr. De Nantes immediately asked : “ Has the Virginal Spouse of Jesus Christ divorced her first husband ? Is this bigamy or adultery ? ” At any rate, “ how can she reconcile these new loves with Holy Scripture, Dogma and Morals ” ? 20
In this fight against a still veiled apostasy, our Father proved himself to be a true “ monk-missionary ”, a son of Elijah, the prophet who founded Carmel, and a zealot of the Living God eager to topple an idol more infernal than all the idols that the missionaries of former times had fought. The Pope accompanied the launching of his “ great design ” with spectacular, “ prophetic ”, gestures, for example, by giving up the tiara on November 18, 1964 as a sign that he had given up his temporal mission to the benefit… of the U.N., the great plutocratic, Judeo-Masonic, American and global organisation. From Bombay, where he had gone to a Eucharistic Congress, he brought back to the Vatican a statue of the god Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu! He explained on December 2, 1964, to the representatives of “ non-Christian religions ” that this was a sign of “ sacred communion, ” in order to “ to begin to work together for the common future of humanity. ”
THE VIRGIN MARY, A SIGN OF CONTRADICTION.
The Council mentioned the Most Blessed Virgin only to relegate Her to the last chapter of the Constitution on the Church “ Lumen Gentium ”, which was promulgated on November 21, 1964. What a crime against the Holy Spirit this last place was ! The dogma of Mary Mediatrix of all graces was rejected as “ inopportune and even baneful (damnosa) ”, Cardinal Montini, the future Paul VI, already said in 1962 ! Thus the thesis of the “ minimalists ” triumphed in imposing a “ new way ” of venerating the Virgin : it was no longer a question of proclaiming Her beauty, Her glory, Her grace but only Her spirit of service ! Her prerogatives were scorned, Her demands that were revealed at Fatima, stifled. Fr. Congar triumphed, he who dared to write : “ Mariology, at least the sort that always wants to add on, is a real cancer ” !
Our Father was not surprised by this :
“ From the disciples of Nestorius down to the reformers of the Second Vatican Council, weeds are periodically sown among the Christian family concerning You, O Mother of God. It is an inevitable necessity and a malediction for the innovators to attack and to be broken on this stumbling block that is Your cult ! Their reasons appear to be praiseworthy. In the fifth century they wanted to deepen the dogma of the Incarnation, in the sixteenth, to better acknowledge the grandeur of God and the gratuitousness of His gifts. In our days they seek to cast a better light on the mystery of the Church and the principles of her apostolate.
“ Their contentious minds, however, turn against You, O Virgin, Throne of Wisdom, You who are rightly in possession of the secret and the last word on these mysteries that they are seeking to understand ! Scholars contest Your most beautiful titles and curates snatch rosary beads from the hands of children. Each reform must begin by waging war against You. Why, just why is this so ? [...]
“ You are indeed a sign of contradiction ; You are the opportunity for a revelation of hearts. By virtue of a providential disposition that has no need of being demonstrated or justified, You have been established as the guardian, or even better, the Safeguard of the Church and of Christians. Certain people may find that You now take too important a place. This is proof that Your mystery and our devotion are an obstacle to their inventions and their projects. If they were satisfied, content, fulfilled in the Church, they would rejoice fully in Your glory [...]. Your secret, finally revealed, is that of a creature forgetful of Herself and preserved for God alone, a creature whom God has magnificently exalted.
“ Your lesson saves us from the mirages of the Antichrist, who is Your opposite in every way. You are the Spouse of the eternal Wedding Feast, whereas he seeks to reduce us to the slavery of the earthly City. You are the fruitful Virgin with Whom refuge is found by the humble and the penitent, by good Christians and those who would wish to be so, by a multitude out of all races and languages who have believed in the Saviour and hoped in His grace, by all men of good will finally reunited, while against You and against Jesus rages a world stirred up by Satan. ” 21
VISITE TO MAISON SAINT-JOSEPH.
At that time, we received the visit of Jacques Perret at Maison Saint-Joseph. The writer relates it in these terms to his son Jean-Loup, imprisoned in the Gaullist jails for the crime of fidelity to French Algeria :
“ We went to spend a day at Maison Saint-Joseph, a large house that so far only shelters a very small monastery, a Father, two brothers, a strict Rule, the traditional monastic offices : Sext, None, Compline, Vespers, Matins, Lauds, Rosary (I do not mention them in order). All this is chanted, of course. The three of them make as much an impression as all of Solesmes. Since he has been refused permission to say Mass in the house, he says it at 6 o’clock in the parish church (he used to say it at 7 o’clock, but since there was a small congregation, the new progressivist parish priest imposed 6 o’clock on him.) Thus, there is not a chapel properly speaking, but a sort of oratory in a former dining room. For the offices they don a long white mantle with a cowl 22 which seems to me at least useful against the cold, for there is only one room with heating, the work room. Meals are taken in silence, except for the reading (on a subject that can be profane but edifying) carried out in turn until dessert when, in our honour, there was conversation. No smoking obviously, even for guests, who are only allowed to do so once they have left the yard.
“ In other words, if Father is theologically invulnerable, he is also morally so and, as far as the conduct of this small maquis is concerned, the adversary would pick a quarrel with it in vain, in a manner of speaking.
“ The brothers who accompany him in this spiritual adventure have a touching admiration for him. Brother Bruno (a former meharist,) who was in Paris to put in a token appearance in the theology class for eight days, had Father’s permission to shorten his stay and to come with us. As at each return to Father’s house, he knelt on the threshold to receive his blessing (I think with the intention of exorcising, after the miasmas of the city and the world.)
“ So you see, it is not a decadent congregation. It is austere, mystical and industrious. With the ardour of the struggle, the battle for the Faith, victory is not around the corner. ” 23
“ HERESY IS IN THE COUNCIL. ”
The third Council session saw reformism irresistibly prevail in the assembly of the Fathers, so much so that it shook the dogmas and the structures of the Church. Fr. de Nantes’ criticism then assumed this tone of vehemence that the extent of the tragedy demanded.
“ For God only gives His grace to those who fight and the whole history of the Church illustrates the magnificence of God in the dazzling whiteness of her virgins, the precious gold of her devoted servants, and the crimson of her martyrs. It is necessary to fight, ” following the example of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem opposing Pope Honorius, whom another pope, St. Leo II, and the Sixth Ecumenical Council proclaimed anathema. 24
From that time on, the angor Ecclesiæ never left our Father : “ The stone has broken from the mountain. It is rolling now in a thunderous rumble, and you claim that you can stop it ? Would they have hurled it down in that way to give themselves the benefit of stopping it now ? No one knows, in truth, into what abysses it will crash. ” 25
When a dramatic discussion concerning the schema on Religious Freedom was getting underway, he wrote :
“ It was necessary to avoid recalling truths that were too austere if the men of the Church were too cowardly to shoulder the burden of them, or to proclaim them proudly and paternally in the face of the modern World, which does not accept them and dies for want of them. But discuss them, never ! The Church cannot stray from them without disavowing them and committing apostasy. Here are these truths : Freedom comes from God alone. Perfect human freedom belongs to Jesus Christ alone and, in the divine gift that He made of it, to the Catholic Church. She alone is the true religion and the perfect society whose rights dominate all powers and all created individuals. It is by virtue of their membership in this divine and true Church that all Catholics have the full freedom of worship and of apostolate in all nations and in all states. This is the foundation of the sole familial, social, political, and international law that is absolutely sacred. The other religions, being deprived of any historical proof and any supernatural mark of truth, have no specific authority and those who practice them, even sincere persons, have no special right other than that of natural morality. Neither the Church nor States should recognise such religions, nor grant them the slightest social right, for error constitutes no basis for a real right. Only the requirements of the common good and peace can bring about a certain tolerance, which, however broad it may be, will be no more than a make-shift solution that always remains dangerous for the true Faith, for the supernatural good of societies, and for the salvation of souls !
“ Therefore, one must not speak of freedom except in the context of private consciences, which cannot be forced : under no circumstances can one be compelled to practice a religion that his conscience invincibly rejects as being evil ; but it does not follow that his conscience has the power to act exteriorly in accord with its error.
“ Furthermore, society must expend all its efforts to bring the conscience to the truth and redress it in accord with the good to which God calls it. To say that it is violent for the Church to demand for herself what she refuses to others is to lead minds astray, it is to renounce the true God, the true Faith, the unique Church of Jesus Christ so as to no longer judge things except from the point of view of Man, autonomous and absolute, who has taken God’s place, free to believe and to act without restriction ! ” 26
Meanwhile, in Rome, the Jesuit Martelet cynically explained to the Council Fathers that if they wanted to have this schema passed, they would have to “ put God in parentheses ” (sic) and base it not on the divine Word, but “ on human dignity. ”
Our Father devoted himself to making an equally brilliant analysis of the schema on The Sources of Revelation.
“ Divine Truth is a living water of which Jesus Christ is the historical earthly source and the Apostolic College is its reservoir. Church Tradition, by its worship, its dogmas, its discipline, conveys it and throughout the centuries is its sole and continuous channel. Finally, the distribution system is the teaching Church, the infallible Magisterium, from which we ask for nothing other than water from the Source, and not the fetid or sugared water of their [the theologians] wells nor the wine of their barrels. The entire effort of the Innovators consists in attacking the joints of this Tradition, in order to dissociate its elements ; then they advocate another marvellous way, the Modernist way, of knowing the Word of God, a different faith ! ” 27
Fr. de Nantes, who kept his mind clear and sound among so many confused and contradictory speeches and discussions, then levelled this tremendous accusation : “ Heresy is at the Council. ”
The session ended without the proclamation of Religious Freedom that had been so desired by the “ reformers ” for the centenary of the Syllabus, the very memory of which they wished to erase. To their great fury, Paul VI, forced its postponement on them. He did this, however, the better to negotiate the bend and lead everyone, the traditionalists of the Cœtus Internationalis Patrum included, without a break, to where he intended to go : to the solemn proclamation, one year later, by the Teaching Church, of this false revolutionary and Masonic doctrine, the solid foundation of his cult of Man.
CHURCH AND MASDU.
This whole manoeuvre was analysed from day to day by Fr. de Nantes in a series of conclusive Letters. In them he uncovered the heresy of Pope Montini, a disciple of Jacques Maritain, a heresy “ to which I have been pleased to give a name, rather as one might quickly pin down a beautiful moth to immobilise it and thus observe it ” 28 : it is the “ MASDU, ” Movement for the Spiritual Animation of Universal Democracy, “ the great Beast ” as Jacques Perret would call it 29.
“ We vow to keep away from it, to denounce it and to fight it wherever it appears... in nomine Domini ! In so doing we fulfil a major duty of our faith that no legitimate authority can gainsay. Our obedience to the Church could never include a recommendation or an order that we embrace the MASDU. They are two distinct realities in our eyes, two opposing mysteries, the one as contrary to the other as are the City of God and the City of Hell. St. Paul affirms this (in a fragment curiously omitted by His Holiness Paul VI in the encyclical Ecclesiam Suam) ‘ What association could there possibly be between Christ and Belial ? ’ (2 Co 6:15)
“ Since no man can serve two such different and contrary masters, it is unthinkable that the Authority of the Church as such could be utilised to rally us to the MASDU, counting on the docility of a filial and candid obedience. If it ever came to that, it could only be achieved in an illegitimate and violent manner, which would amount to a forfeiture that one would have to have the courage to denounce. The purity of our faith, the serenity of our hope and the impulse of our charity can only be expressed in a clear distinction between good and evil at a time when every effort is being made to confuse the issue. ” 30
These Letters were read in Rome, as Fr. Joseph Hamon, the General Procurator of the Eudists, bore witness. He wrote to our Father on June 21, 1965 :
“ Father, a friend passed on to me duplicated pages in which you defend with rare energy the traditional Catholic doctrine. This vitally interests me, and I would be glad to subscribe to your articles. ”
Then the Breton religious, who had followed the Council’s preparatory work and also those of the recesses, told him what scandalised him :
“ From the beginning of the Council, we have seen and heard either the Pope in person or the august Assembly humbly ask pardon of all the non-believers, all the heretics, all the enemies of the Christian name ; it is a true public penance before the non-Catholic universe. Thousands of smiles are given to the dissident observers, the Jews who shouted ‘ Sanguis ejus super nos et super filios nostros ! ’ are proven innocent. The Lepanto banner is returned to the Turks ; the Pope goes to the Arabs with all sorts of demonstrations of friendship ; the rehabilitation of Luther, Jan Hus, Giordano Bruno and Galileo is demanded [...].
“ What takes the cake in this Council, in my opinion, is the proclamation of religious freedom. For me, it constitutes a violent hara-kiri ! Such a proclamation is in absolute contradiction with the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, as Fesquet pointed out very well. Obviously, he rejoices (as does Izvestia !) to see the Roman Church herself destroying the dogma of the immutability of her religious teaching.
“ I hope that you will come back to this point in detail, and with this dialectic force, this clarity combined with the profundity that characterise your articles. ” 31
NON POSSUMUS !
To make sure of carrying it off during the closing session of the Council, Pope Paul VI went to proclaim it at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan, on October 4, 1965, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. On that day, “ the spirit of Assisi ” descended on Manhattan, to give life to the MASDU, “ a marvellous and living, vaguely angelical chimera, ”wrote Jacques Perret, “ the cover of whose wings will keep us here below in darkness, with temporal felicities as our only goal and with God discreetly helping us. What a strange mutation of the dove of St. Remi, ” and a denial of the Dove of the Baptism of Jesus Christ !
Without invoking any divine authority, John the Baptist (Montini) spoke with a voice different from that which came from Heaven to Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, two thousand years ago : that of an “ expert in humanity and a pilgrim for peace ”. He proclaimed : “ Never again war ! Never again war ! It is peace, peace that must guide the destiny of peoples and of all humanity. ” For his unflagging efforts in the service of this “ sacred cause ”, John the Baptist Montini did not praise God, but the Organisation founded on “ the fundamental rights and duties of man, his dignity, his freedom and above all, his religious freedom. ”
Since Paul VI was Pope, and since he encountered no obstacle in his way, one might believe in the infallibility of his declarations ! But no ! From a minuscule quarter of the universal Church, Fr. de Nantes uttered a firm ‘ Non possumus ’ :
“ It is not we, it is the supreme Magisterium who will say to the heretics of our time and, beyond them, to the Tempter : Non possumus ! I already affirmed it concerning the Collegiality that was proclaimed in France even before being discussed in the Council, and I was right. I repeat it to you today concerning Religious Freedom : this doctrine is insane ; reason proves it. This doctrine is not Catholic ; the Council or the Pope will reject it. hæc est victoria quæ vincit mundum, fides nostra ! ” 32
This “ Non possumus ” remains ours today, as firm and supported by dogmatic reasons as in 1965 when our Father demonstrated that the Acts of this Council and the speeches of this Pope were devoid of the infallibility to be expected of their Magisterium, which both refused to exercise, while falsely claiming, from the beginning of their Reformation, a charisma of apostolic inspiration, of inerrancy and of indefectibility, absolutely exorbitant and falling within the province of the purest Modernism. 33
THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.
A tree, however, does not stop the wind that blows in the plain. The fourth session saw the annihilation of the traditionalist opposition, and the Liberal capitulation that our Father anxiously observed as it developed. 34
By his visit to the UN and his Masonic speech 35, Pope Paul VI forced the hand of the Council, where a minority still resolutely voted against “ the unthinkable schema on religious freedom ”, as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre said, before signing it himself.
“ So here the Church is, enslaved to temporal powers, and to the worst of them ”, our Father remarked after this voyage. “ Her doctrine has been determined, not by a legitimate act of the Magisterium, but in anticipation of it and forcing it, by means of a speech that Paul VI addressed to the nations. The era of freedom has begun by an act of secular coercion. ” 36
Guardian of the Faith by his office of Secretary of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani rallied in turn on October 27, 1965, “ like a blind man, like the blind man that I am, ” he confided. Fr. de Nantes waxed indignant : “ The Pope, and the Pope alone, is responsible for this substantial change of the Church, for this so-called evolution, which is in fact a revolution in faith and morals, and he imposes even on the first of his servants that he follow him blindly. Six hundred million blind individuals have to follow a Seer, a Prophet, an Illuminist ! ” 37
A few years later, Sister Lucy would complain likewise : “ The worst thing is that the Devil has succeeded in abusing and deceiving souls who carry such heavy responsibility on account of the position they occupy ! They are the blind leading others who are blind ! ” 38
“ The Creed has to be defended as a desperado would, not as a carabineer. One has to hold one’s ground like the Foreign Legion at Camerone, without a strategic withdrawal, and the very idea of capitulation is out. Today’s error will never be tomorrow’s truth [...]. The fight goes on. ” Although Cardinal Ottaviani abandoned the cause, our Father did not drop his guard and wanted more than ever to be a “ rebel against the rebellion ” : “ to be a rebel against rehabilitated Luther and the diffuse Protestantism of Modernist Christians ; a rebel to triumphant Lammenais [in the person of Paul VI] and to the Masdu sprung from his woolly mind. ” 39
On December 8, 1965, the day of the Council’s closing, Fr. de Nantes wrote : “ This is the final combat of Peter against Peter, of Manhattan against Rome, of the God-man against the Man-God and, according to St. Paul’s declaration, “ of Christ and Belial. ” 40
Through an extraordinary penetration of the thought of Paul VI, he unwittingly contradicted, word for word, the speech that the Pope had delivered the preceding day in the aula of Saint Peter :
“ Secular, profane humanism has finally revealed itself in its terrible stature and has, in a certain sense, challenged the Council. The religion of God made man has come up against a religion – for there is such a one – of man who makes himself God. And what happened ? A shock, a battle, an anathema ? That might have taken place [this is what had in fact taken place during the reigns of Blessed Pius IX, St. Pius X, and even Pius XII], but it did not. It was the old story of the Samaritan that formed the model for the Council’s spirituality. It was filled only with a boundless sympathy. The attention of this Synod was taken up with the discovery of human needs – which become greater as the son of the earth (sic) makes himself greater.
“ Do you at least recognise this its merit, you modern humanists who have no place for the transcendence of the things supreme, and come to know our new humanism : we also, we more than anyone else, have the cult of man. ”
Not a single bishop could be found to refuse to bend the knee before the idol. No ! There was neither “ shock ” “ battle ”, nor “ anathema ”. Except against… Fr. de Nantes, because, like Elijah he alone remained a “ free man among the dead ”, a prophet of purely Catholic fidelity, who confounded the false prophets of Antichrist.
A SIGN OF HOPE.
It was thus under cover of the Council that the Sect “ which honours me by holding me to be a formidable adversary, ” he wrote, became the master of the whole Church. Our Father, however, had too thoroughly experienced in all her magnitude the mystery of this Church both human and divine, to dream for a single instant of detaching himself from her :
“ I am in her and I believe ! I want to remain attached to her unto death ! Nothing could ever, may God hear me, estrange me however slightly from her Creed, nor make me doubt her authority, so much is this so that if someone succeeded by violence in cutting me off from her Communion and throwing me outside, it would be like a strip of flesh torn from her flesh, and I would remain on the threshold, with the saints of the Old Testament who watch over the doors of our cathedrals. Like them I would make a sign for passers-by to enter into this one fold. I would call the infidels to find peace in her sanctuary from which I would have been unjustly banished. ” 41
By virtue of this invincible faith in the Roman Catholic Church, shortly after the Council, he was going to appeal to the authority of her infallible Magisterium, as he confided in the course of an interview with the journalist André Giovanni who was leading his investigation into this “ lone priest ” about whom everyone was beginning to talk :
“ When I do not understand, I say so. When I am wounded, I cry out. When my Father distresses me, I am unable to conceal my tears. My Father is my Father and our relationship is stamped with candour.
“ I hope, however, that by dint of discordant shouts, we will hear, if not the Council at least the Sovereign Pontiff (as he did on a precise and essential point in Mysterium Fidei) impose upon us the divine Truth to which he alone bears infallible witness, concerning what divides us, in the name of his sovereign authority, Look, once and for all, I affirm it to you : I am subject to the Pope. I love him with a profound, sincere and true charity, yes, His Holiness Paul VI ! ”
André Giovanni : “ And even if he condemned you ? ”
Fr. de Nantes : “ It is impossible. Let us broaden our view. John XXIII was not the first Pope, even of a new era. He was the 262nd successor of St. Peter, and Paul VI is the 263rd. You can understand that the religion has had the time to become sufficiently clarified for us to know quite precisely in what we believe, and to what we committed ourselves when we gave our faith and our heart to the Church of Jesus Christ ! ”
In his declared opposition to the Reform, our Father was already thinking about a Third Vatican Council, a Council of restoration. The programme that he outlined for it then was realised in the work of the ‘ Catholic Renaissance ’ that he carried out at the same time as his ‘ Counter-Reformation ’ fight.
“ This time it will be a ‘ reform ’ of the Restoration type, after the iconoclasts and the daubers have done their worst. It will then be a matter of struggling against a tremendous current in order to save the young clergy from apostasy and the religious Orders from the mental and moral anarchy into which they have sunk [...]. The future Council will have to bring the clergy back to serious theological study and to deliver them from the fumes of Freudism, Marxism and Teilhardism, condemning their theories without appeal. The magnificent liturgy that is presently proscribed from our parishes must be restored, as well as the Gregorian chant that the people will have forgotten. The preachers that the Council will have generated will go everywhere re-establishing the taste for prayer, for meditation, preaching penance, teaching the horror of sin and love of God. Nothing less than a Council is needed to re-establish discipline among the clergy and a sense of pride in the Faith. Those who will convince them to take up again their cassock, their crucifix and their Rosary will be great men of God !
“ Yes, we will then see a springtime of the Church, a time of renewal for Christendom ! [...] It will be deeply moving and uplifting to witness or share in this honourable reinstatement of the treasures of the Church’s holiness and wisdom, before the eyes of the faithful and of the whole world ! For this reform of the clergy, we will be able to draw our inspiration from the methods of the great Councils which, in our presumptuous decadence, we currently despise. The Sovereign Pontiff will humbly follow the example of his most glorious and holy predecessors [...]. It the same effort that must always be made because man is always the same. The motto of the Carthusian Order is : ‘ Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis. ’ The Cross remains standing, motionless, while the earth turns and the course of the world continues…
André Giovanni : “ Give us an undisputed, an absolute sign of the truth of your convictions, of the charity of your fight. A sign of hope ! ”
Fr. de Nantes : “ This sign, we all have it and it belongs to everyone of us, it is the Secret of Fatima. When the Blessed Virgin decided to enlighten Her children, one can only fall to one’s knees to listen to Her. ” 42
(1) CCR no. 88, “ Apologia pro vita sua; ” October 1977, p. 8.
(2) By the Board of Governors of the Carmelite Seminary.
(3) Quoted in Pour l’Église, Vol. I, p. 357.
(4) CCR no. 88, October 1977, p. 8.
(5) Cf. supra, pp. 121-124.
(6) Quoted in Documentation catholique, 1964, col. 92.
(7) Quoted in Pour l’Église, Vol. II, p. 20.
(8) Letter to My Friends no. 132 of February 18, 1963.
(9) Letter to My Friends no. 134 of March 19, 1963.
(10) Letter to My Friends no. 156 of October 31, 1963, p. 1.
(11) Archbishop of Cologne, whose private theologian was Fr. Ratzinger.
(12) Letter to My Friends no. 158 of November 23, 1963.
(13) Quoted in Pour l’Église, Vol. 2, p. 41.
(14) Letter to My Friends no. 165 of February 23, 1964.
(15) Letter to My Friends no. 171, April 1964.
(16) A summary can be found in Letter to My Friends no. 172 of May 13, 1964.
(17) CRC no. 110, October 1976, pp. 5-6.
(18) CRC no. 82, “ J’ai lutté seul ”, August 1974, p. 1. Abridged translation in CCR no. 53, “ I have been fighting alone ”, August 1974, pp. 16-18.
(19) CCR no. 101, “ Paul VI’s Funeral Oration ”, August 1978, p. 1.
(20) Letter to My Friends no. 182, September 8, 1964.
(21) Letter to My Friends no. 179, August 15, 1964.
(22) The monastic cowl, with which Bishop Le Couëdic clothed us, August 6, 1961.
(23) Family Correspondance, published in CRC no. 290, March 1993, p. 16.
(24) Letter to My Friends no. 188, November 12, 1964.
(25) Letter to My Friends no. 184, September 25, 1964.
(26) Letter to My Friends no. 185, October 1st, 1964.
(27) Letter to My Friends no. 186, October 15, 1964, pp. 4-5.
(28) Letter to My Friends no. 197, February 22, 1965, p. 6. Six letters follow on “ The Church and the Masdu ” in which Paul VI’s entire plan was analysed, explained and denounced.
(29) Le Monde et la Vie no. 147-148, August and September 1965.
(30) Letter to My Friends no. 199, March 19, 1965, p. 1.
(31) Personal letter of June 21, 1965. On that day began a very pure priestly friendship between our Father and Fr. Hamon of which we were the witnesses and the beneficiaries, a friendship that never failed and lasted until the death of this great servant of the Church and holy religious on January 5, 1999. Cf. CRC no. 352, January 1999, pp. 33-35.
(32) Letter to My Friends no. 209, July 22, 1965, p. 2.
(33) Letter to My Friends no. 212, September 15, 1965.
(34) Letters to My Friends no. 213-214, and no. 216, from September to November 1965.
(35) Letters to My Friends no. 215, October 31, 1965 and no. 218 of December 8, 1965.
(36) Letter to My Friends no. 214, October 15, 1965, p. 3.
(37) Letter to My Friends no. 216, November 11, 1965, p. 2.
(38) Letter of Sister Lucy to Mother Martins, September 16, 1970.
(39) “ Le Monde et la Vie ” no. 150, November 1965.
(40) Letter to My Friends no. 218, December 8, 1965, p. 8.
(41) Letter to My Friends no. 187, October 1964.
(42) Interview published in the review “ Le Monde et la Vie ” no. 150, in November 1965, printed at the beginning of Volume 4 of the Letters to My Friends (1966-1967).