Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.
18. NEITHER SCHISM NOR HERESY (1969-1973)
A week had not elapsed after the expiration of Cardinal Seper’s ultimatum to which Fr. de Nantes had replied by his ‘Profession of Faith,’ before several integrist priests, who are completely forgotten today, made arrangements to meet at Maison Saint-Joseph in order to try to lure the leader of the Catholic Counter-Reformation into schism. They contended that the Pope was deposed on account of the promulgation of the new Ordo Missae due to come into force on November 30, 1969, the first Sunday of Advent.
Our Father tried to show them that even if the Pope has fallen from office from the very fact of having promulgated a heretical and invalid Mass, it was still necessary that the whole Church should recognise and acknowledge this “deposition” through a judgement of the competent authority in Rome:
“ You may reason, prove, and argue as much as you like in formulating an accusation of heresy against Paul VI. However, as long as the Magisterium of the Church has not passed a dogmatic sentence, your thinking will be nothing more than the opinion of a theologian who could be wrong. Therefore, it is essential to obtain a judgement.”
I can still see Fr. Coache who had listened without saying a word. Suddenly he burst out laughing: “ Are you still harping on about that! To expect Rome to pass a judgement deposing the Pope is quite ridiculous. It could never happen! The whole Church has foundered. How could she possibly render judgement?” Our Father’s reiterated objections that, in such a case, the Gates of Hell would have prevailed contrary to Our Lord’s promises, were to no avail. Fr. Guérard des Lauriers kept repeating: “ it is self-evident that the Church has foundered,” i.e. there is no need to demonstrate it. Our evening visitors were not only schismatics but also heretics, since they had lost faith in the Church. It goes without saying that they did not pass the night under our roof.
Our Father put them out, warning them that he would fight them.
TO REMAIN ON THE “HIGH GROUND.”
“I believe that I put all my strength,” our Father wrote, “in fighting heresy until July 16, 1969. From July 21 on, we gradually engaged in the fight against schism.” All these battles organised themselves along a general line of impressive continuity in the same service of the Church. By refusing to the same extent an unconditional submission to the Pope and an act of dissidence, considering both as abusive and profoundly immoral, our Father entered onto a “high ground” between two abysses. To the left lay the abyss of heresy into which the conciliar Church had sunk, and to the right, that of schism into which the “integrists” were now plunging.
Only a small number agreed to follow him. In fact, the issue of the New Mass broke the momentum of the large traditionalist movement that had assembled against the New Catechism: many integrist priests who held it to be invalid concluded that there was no longer a Pope nor bishops. They were therefore free to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments in total independence in order to assure the survival and the future of the Church.
Fr. de Nantes unceasingly hammered home that “ we are not the saviours of the Church. The Church is still and always our Ark of Salvation. Even though I cannot see it, I believe with the certainty of faith that the Church’s salvation resides today as yesterday in her Pastors. Even though temporarily sunk in error and in the sectarianism of their “Reformation,” grace nevertheless still subsists in them indefectibly, if not apparently, and is ready to spring to life, on the day appointed by God, for the salvation of all. The trouble may be very great and the danger to souls mortal but God does not wish to govern us except through the Hierarchy. [...]. The Church is not in us; she subsists in those very ones whom we see occupied with her ruin yet whom we believe to be the bearers of Christ’s grace by virtue of their Apostolic Jurisdiction.” 1
Such faith in the Church strengthened many disoriented souls, tempted with despair, even his own master and seminary professor, Fr. Vimal, who wrote to our Father after the publication of the Roman Notification: “ The Church must truly be divine for its leaders to have finally been forced to back down. They imposed no canonical sentence on you. ”
After having defined his “high ground” doctrinally, our Father was eager to put his theological analyses to the test of the practice of the local Churches and of Rome. He thus went to Madrid, then to the Eternal City. He also received information from Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and Australia. Our Father then drew from them ‘The Lesson of the Churches.’ 2 Everywhere he had observed that the new rite was imposed by the Pope’s will, and accepted by everyone, although without being enchanted by it:
“How could we be so rash as to decide all by ourselves that this Mass is invalid when the whole Catholic Church the world over has accepted its daily celebration? [...] The entire Church could never have accepted, even out of obedience to the Pope, a mere simulacrum of the Sacrifice [...].This argument is categorical: if today, all over the world, the mass of Catholic priests were celebrating an invalid liturgy, giving the faithful nothing but bread and wine to adore and consume in place of the adorable Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and if the whole Catholic community were taking part in the deception in a mistaken faith, then the promises of Christ to His Church would be void, the Gates of Hell would have prevailed against her and there would no longer exist a Church of God!”
The validity of this new rite as well as the legitimacy of our hierarchy was at stake: “For years, we have regarded this reforming Pope and these reforming bishops in union with him as our lawful, although bad, pastors. The same holds for their Mass. It is valid though bad, and, like its inventors, void of spiritual fruits. We must tolerate it, as we tolerate them. It will not outlast them. Flying over our ancient Catholic lands with all their ancestral stability, I came to the instinctive conclusion that the solid foundations of their sacramental life would persist, even if the times were bad, and that we must wait, remain faithful in the service of God, put up with evil and with wicked men and not risk a worse alternative, but strive nevertheless for what is better, in the knowledge that the Lord is always in the midst of those who are His, to suffer in them and rise again in glory.”
Whence the practical consequence, dictated by a supernatural wisdom: “Whether we are in the minority or the majority, we cannot make it our programme to impose our views, our liturgy and our traditions upon our fathers and brethren in the faith through the use of force. Yet, in our certainty of having remained faithful to the true institutions and the will of Christ, we have the noble ambition of holding on to them, of defending them steadfastly and of getting all the others to love them too, whilst we wait for God Himself to convert the hearts of our Pastors who have gone astray.” 3
This can only happen by remaining in our parishes in order to maintain an irreplaceable living and sacramental contact with the Church. This position, both moderate and vigorous, explained at length, was salutary: for a while it would preserve French traditionalism from schism. Rome was aware of this.
THE LIGUE OF THE CATHOLIC COUNTER-REFORMATION,
THE NARROW PATH OF CATHOLIC FIDELITY.
To despair of the Church to the point of forming one’s own chapel, sect, schism was the temptation to which many traditionalists succumbed in those years of great discord, thus turning away from the only effective ‘good fight’ against the Reformation and the ‘Modernist cancer’ that was consuming the body and the soul of the Church. This is what Fr. de Nantes called the ‘integrist tapeworm,’ which consists in isolating oneself and feeding oneself to the detriment of the organism. He made it a duty of conscience for our friends to guard themselves against it at all costs.
“To take our complaint against the Modernist heresy as far as Rome, I did not need any help from you other than your ordinary interest and generosity. I confronted the Supreme Authority alone and I was not defeated. In this other apostolate, however, which consists in supporting those close to us and keeping them within the Church, you are all called upon to help. We must support one another in a brotherly fashion, so that we both know and feel that we are not alone.” 4
That is why he decided in that spring of 1970 to found a League in the service of ‘The Church, the Church Alone.’5 “I think that the time of the Catholic Counter-Reformation has come. Nevertheless, in order for it to succeed, with the help of God, may all those who are called to this work commit themselves to it and persevere until the victory that will be given to us from On High, the restoration of the Church. ‘The soldiers will fight and God will bestow victory,’ our Joan of Lorraine (St. Joan of Arc) used to say. Wisdom and confidence are required, since it is a supernatural service that is asked of us, but also courage and discipline, since it is a fight between men.”
In the following issue, he published an editorial that reveals his love of the Church and his concern for maintaining Catholic unity under the title ‘Supernatural Wisdom.’ He applied the judgement of Solomon to the two parties that were tearing the Church apart. Between the two, only the wisdom speaking to the heart of the true mother was able, through her heroic sacrifice, to save the innocent child:
“This same wisdom must now prevail amongst our friends, giving them the courage to remain on the narrow path of Catholic fidelity. We must win a victory over ourselves, over our anxieties and the arguments of our reason; we must submit our rebellious hearts to the mysterious Wisdom of God. This is the pledge of His grace, the forerunner of victory! I do not claim any merit for having shown you the way. It was mapped out for me by article 28 of the Rule under which we live here and which is much older than our present problems: ‘The Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart will love one another as members of one family, the Church. They will never set up their Order in rivalry or opposition to any other community of any sort. Only one community exists for them and that is the one that includes them all – the Catholic Church.’
“If by misfortune there should be formed a Party of the Catechism of St Pius X and a Party of the Mass of St Pius V, however perfect and holy these things are in themselves, yet in as much as they would no longer come through the Church but from outside her, they would become for us but a poisonous and deadly potion. We repudiate any integrist ‘esprit de corps’ just as we suffer agony and death as a result of the reformist ‘esprit de corps,’ which has enlisted against us the whole hierarchical chain of oppressors of the Church, from Cardonnel and Küng even to the Reformer Giovanni Battista Montini, who is also our Pope. How odious is this sectarian spirit! The only esprit de corps that is inspired by supernatural Wisdom is that which configures us to the Holy Spirit in His unique love for His Body, the Church: the mystical Esprit de corps, the only one that is holy.”
I ask: in this tragic debate, who more than our Father was endowed with this “ mystical Esprit de corps,” this love of the Church that prefers to conserve the living social, hierarchical unity of the faithful, rather than claiming its share of the inheritance from her? This wisdom is accompanied by an absolute trust in Jesus Christ, the King of kings “into Whose hands we place our cause. It is He, through the prayers of His Blessed Mother, who will keep alive in the hearts of this deceived and enslaved people “ the faith of ancient days.” It is He Who will at last return the child to his true mother, and we will certainly not desist for an instant from imploring Him to do this by our tearful prayers and our cries ascending towards Him and towards His Vicar until, worn out by them, They will at last do us justice!” 6
IF GOD SO WILLS!
“To waken our pastors, to keep the true Faith is the difficult task of the CCR!” 7 In order to sustain this work, besides the feature articles, starting in the spring of 1970, a special page devoted to the League was printed every month. The first ones, from April to August, painted a portrait of a member of the League, such as our Father imagined him. They set out the fundamental principles of his action and the programme of the Third Order that was thus created. The subsequent League pages provided the regular chronicle of its activities. One ought to be able to recognise a member of the League by a growth in the three theological virtues:
“A profound serenity of faith. Joining the CCR puts an end to a great number of perplexities and scruples. How today should we reconcile the two commands of the adorable Will of God: that of guarding and defending the true Faith in all its integrity, and that of remaining sons of the Church, obedient to her hierarchy and nourished on her sacraments? To enrol in the CCR entails an absolute desire to reconcile these two, to commit oneself to this and to work at it in conjunction with others [...].
“The second benefit is a new strengthening of hope, which is joy in the cross. I warned you that our great temptation would be to despair of the visible hierarchical Church: no longer to believe in what we could not see. Your membership of the CCR will certainly be a source of trial and self-denial, a cross to be borne. In this cross, however, there will also be a very pure joy. For the CCR means hope in the Church, a hope against all hope [...].
“A third benefit of our belonging to the League is a new ardour of fraternal charity. The thought that everything is finished, that there is nothing one can do, chills the heart. Making far-reaching plans for action on a grand scale, devising great theories, has a similar effect. To those who inundate me with vain projects and literature of this sort, I would say that the least act of practical and truly humble charity carried out in one’s own parish and one’s own circle is worth much more. It is there that we must perfect our charity [...]. And you will see, action will follow, success will come, ‘if God so wills!’” 8
Theses wholly Catholic acts of Faith, Hope and Charity to which the Angel had already summoned the three shepherds of Fatima in 1917, often brought about a veritable spiritual renewal or a ‘second conversion’ in the members of the League. This was made manifest by the bestowal and the wearing of the insignia as a lapel badge, bearing witness to the victory of Christ over His enemies, which is predicted by so many prophecies: The standards of the King advance. It was a call to the Crusade, and it is just too bad for the grumpy!
“The Heart and the Cross. The essential element is the Cross planted deep in the Heart. It rises with a certain fragility and points towards Heaven. We hold this symbol of our Mysteries in common with all our Catholic brethren: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His redemptive Cross [...]. Let us not forget Mary, Her Heart transfixed, standing at the foot of the Cross. For the members of the spiritual section of our Third Order, it is an illustration of the mystical words: ‘O Jesus, is there any greater joy than that of suffering for Your love?’ (St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus). For the members of the apostolic section of our Third Order, it is the sign chosen by Charles de Foucauld, the universal brother, our Father and model. For the members of the military section of our Third Order 9, it is also the sign of the inhabitants of the Vendée whose wars were before all else a mass uprising for the defence of the Faith.” 10
At the end of 1970, the League counted a thousand members. More than 300,000 copies of an initial tract entitled “A Letter to Catholics” 11 were printed. It dealt with the pitiful state of the Church and the necessary Counter-Reformation. At that time, the Community was already circulating one hundred and fifty hours of our Father’s conferences recorded on magnetic tape.
In 1971, our sisters arrived just at the right moment to help us in this immense task.
Before 1970, our Father sent his spiritual daughters to different monasteries. In the years that followed the Council, almost all religious congregations received the order to adapt their Rules and customs to the conciliar reformation. This entailed going as far as abandoning the religious habit and entering the labour market! The nuns who attempted to oppose it were turned out of their congregation.
One day, our Father said to me: “What if we worked for ourselves?”
Thus it was that he acquired for this purpose the house that was for sale situated opposite the Maison Saint-Joseph, on the other side of the highway. Maison Sainte-Marie was born. The habit of the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart was copied almost exactly from the habit of the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Montpellier, whom our Father had known before the conciliar disaster; 12 but who had just abandoned their habit in order to bring themselves also in line with the Council’s preferences!
Our sisters adopted the same ‘Provisional Rule’ as the brothers, observing it in the shadow of Maison Saint-Joseph, like the Blessed Virgin in Nazareth Who lived in the shadow of St. Joseph. “Our life here,” our Father taught them, “is like life in Nazareth, a life of prayer, of silence, of manual work, a small and wretched life of abjection, daily efforts and self-sacrifice.” 13
The founding was a long and difficult time of learning but it bore delightful fruits that our Father expressed in this way after twenty years of efforts:
“It is good to have alongside the Community of brothers, the Community of sisters. Men left to themselves become harsh; then, when they meet women, they are tempted. As it is, the brothers are accustomed to a feminine presence. It is very useful for material needs: it relieves us greatly. It, however, also shows us feminine fervour, enthusiasm and gentleness. That is very necessary for men. Nevertheless, one has to be prudent and vigilant, but it is a grace!” (Thursday, October 4, 1990)
“What will restore the Church,” our Father wrote in 1969, “will be the specifically religious work of ‘revitalising’ the very fabric of the Christian society in which we live, the work of sanctifying souls. Demonstrations and oral or written controversy will be nothing but a clash of cymbals without this silent, positive, constructive and long-term work that is more demanding and difficult than any other [...]. Our monastic and missionary Community is a long, austere, supernatural work. It is what is essential to us. The Counter-Reformation is its flank guard. Since it makes more noise, it alone is known to the great majority. It absorbs us at the moment but it is of secondary importance and of transient necessity.” 14
The CCR will come to an end, but our life in community will continue.
TOMORROW, VATICAN III!
In the spring of 1971, while the restive integrists pursued their battle of the Mass, stirring up ill-feelings everywhere like “arch-apostles,” Fr. de Nantes mobilized the members of the League of the CCR for an action far more fruitful, by going on a lecture tour on the theme: “ Tomorrow, Vatican III.”
As early as 1964 15, some people, such as Cardinal Suenens, had braggingly floated the idea of a Vatican III as a way of announcing their final victory, completing the conquests of Vatican II. Our Father accepted the challenge straightway. He evoked this idea again in 1971: “They want a Vatican III, do they? One that will be conclusive? Well, let them come on then; they will be pulverised. Not by us, non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam. Glory will only come to the power of God acting in His Church – with or without us, it matters little. It will, however, be the most beautiful of miracles when God saves His Church acting through the very Church herself.” 16
He added: “What we want soon is for a true and great Vatican III to enthusiastically rid us of the rotten corpse of Vatican II.” This is another premonition of the Third Secret: “ The Holy Father passed through a large city half in ruins [...], he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way.” These “ corpses ” are those to which St. John refers in his letter to the Church of Sardis: “ I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead.” (Ap 3:1)
Our Father was in Paris on May 11, two days before the conference that was to launch this campaign. “I had gone that morning to pray in the chapel of the Miraculous Medal at the Rue du Bac,” he related. “By grace, I arrived right at the moment when the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was entering, before going to Pontmain the following day. What an indescribable sadness to see the clandestine manner in which She was received in Paris, without flowers without candles, without hymns and with no crowd. All ceremony was forbidden by the local authorities, it was said. How pathetic! Paris was closed to her Queen!
“That was our May 13. After a vibrant Credo, I gave a two-hour talk on the necessity of preparing for Vatican III, explaining how it would come about and be realised.” 17
In the same “clandestine” manner as the Blessed Virgin, the year 1971-1972 was entirely dedicated to the study of the Acts of the Second Vatican Council. This immense doctrinal work carried out with unequalled intelligence and alacrity, began with the big public meeting at the Mutualité on October 14, 1971. A warm, well-informed audience of more than 3500 persons, capable of listening to three hours of theological presentations and of subscribing to the CCR doctrine were gathered there.
That year of study came to a close on October 11, 1972, for the tenth anniversary of the opening of this baneful Council that had embarked the Church on the wrong track: “Does this mean that we advocate a simple return to the past? No. To go back to the turning point of 1962, yes, but with the intention of finding the right direction in order to push ahead and make up for lost time. The questions debated are new, at least in part, and they oblige us to resolve difficulties that were unknown to the Ancients. Our Catholicism, therefore, will have to make both theological and institutional progress, and there it will find its proper form and character for the 20th century, but in continuity with previous epochs and generations. We have no desire to ‘return’ to Vatican I, nor to the Council of Trent, nor to that of Nicaea! We want Vatican III to clarify Vatican II and to isolate and eliminate its poison. We want Vatican III to save Tradition and the majority of the traditions that have stood the Church in good stead throughout the centuries. In doing this, however, it will mark an advance and will define the forms of today’s Catholicism. The Church will emerge from this formidable trial, as always, stronger, more beautiful, holier and more conquering than ever.” 18
A CONQUERING KERYGMA.
It was precisely with the aim of corresponding to this need for progress that during that same year 1972, our Father launched upon his monthly lectures in the great hall of the Mutualité before assiduous and enthusiastic audiences. He conducted these meetings for twenty-four years! Each month, he began by delivering a one-hour analysis of current political and religious events and, in a second hour, a brilliant lecture on other subjects: kerygmatic, dogmatic, positive or moral theology, French history, scientific apologetics, etc. It was what was required to rebuild “ the large city half in ruins ” that Christianity had become ten years after the Council. He was like the Prophet Jeremiah who came “ to tear up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow” but also “ to build and to plant” (Jr 1:10).
“The theology of our time,” Fr. de Nantes explained, “needs to be kerygmatic. The preaching (kerugma) of the Word of God today should be the frank, unvarnished and paradoxical proclamation of evangelical Salvation, without the rationalist, universal and timeless mediation of a philosophical system. Its locus should be in the particularity of human situations and in the questions raised by the listener who, whilst acting as the interrogator, will in turn find himself interrogated and pressed to reply to this Word that upsets his existence and his plans.” 19
Is God, our Heavenly Father, the God of Order or the God of Revolution? “It is therefore not a question of searching for a hybrid solution, i.e., a demagogical compromise that pleases both parties. Every time it is possible and just, it is a matter of drawing the adversaries out of the narrow confines in which both sides have unduly imprisoned the “ Kerygma”, that is to say, the totality of the Revelation that the Apostles handed on to the Church and that Tradition has faithfully transmitted in full. The Church has done this dozens of times against all heresies and, at the same time, against the sectarian fits of rage of those of contradictory viewpoints who opposed them. This was what Bossuet used to call “ keeping hold of both ends of the chain.” 20
The Mystery of I Am, the God of Moses is fulfilled in the ‘Revolution’ of Jesus Who made Himself poor with the purpose of revealing this mystery to the little man and of overthrowing the order established by Satan; a new vision of man flows from it, as well as a ‘political theory’ that embodies it in history in order that the Church may establish, restore all things in Jesus, crucified and risen. Yes, our Father did not hesitate to call himself a ‘revolutionary,’ not in the manner of the impious and antichristic revolutions of our age, but in the manner “of His Revolution, the only one that will continue to change the face of the earth until He returns. Furthermore,” our Father added, “I am a conservative in order to preserve, protect, develop this miracle of nature and grace from which mankind is entitled to expect still a thousand marvels.” 21
It was brilliant! It was truly in the spirit of St. Pius X, “the beacon of the twentieth century” who, as it so happens, wanted “ to restore all things in Christ.” It is under his patronage and in the light of his teaching that year after year the monthly lectures at the ‘Mutualité’ took place before attentive audiences of five hundred or six hundred persons.
LET SAINT PIUS X JUDGE BETWEEN US!
When people said to Fr. de Nantes: “I prefer to follow the Pope and the bishops rather than a rebel priest,” he would usually answer: “You are absolutely right! If neither your faith nor your conscience clearly contradicts this line of action, you must obey and follow the Pope and your bishop. If one day, however, your faith, your moral conscience should rise up against the teachings and directives of your Pastors, you would have to clarify your conscience. If, having done this, you should note that your thoughts and feelings lie with the Church of all times and all countries rather than with the innovators of today, be they Pope or bishops, then you would have a duty to rally to the Counter-Reformation. To act thus would be to obey God. For we reject the heretical novelties, from whatever source they come, but ultimately we remain Catholics who submit to the bishops and the Pope in their infallible Magisterium and their just government of souls.” 22
In order to clarify one’s conscience, one need only read “ The Catholic Religion of St. Pius X and the Political Utopia of Paul VI.” 23 Our Father presented this synopsis in which we can see Paul VI’s grand project becoming identified with that of the Sillon condemned by St. Pius X:
SAINT PIUS X:
“This was the time of the Greater Sillon. For the construction of the Future City they appealed to the workers of all religions and all sects. These were only asked to share the same social ideal, to respect all creeds, and to bring with them a certain supply of moral force. Admittedly, they declared that ‘the leaders of the Sillon should place their religious faith above everything, but can they deny others the right to draw their moral energy from whence they can?’ ”
“It is a question of building a world where every man, no matter what his race, religion or nationality, can live a fully human life freed from servitude imposed on him by other men or by natural forces over which he has not sufficient control.” 25
“In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must begin to work together for the construction of mankind’s common future.” 26
With the spirit of prophecy that God grants to the greatest Pontiffs, St. Pius X already denounced the Reformation and the Revolution that Paul VI, the disciple of Sangnier, would preach fifty years later:
“ When we consider the forces, knowledge, and supernatural virtues which have been necessary to establish the Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of martyrs, and the light given by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice of all the heroes of charity, and a powerful hierarchy ordained in Heaven, and the rivers of Divine Grace – the whole having been built up, bound together, and impregnated by the life of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Word made man – when we think, I say, of all this, it is frightening to behold new apostles eagerly attempting to do better by a common interchange of vague idealism and civic virtues. What are they going to produce? What is to come of this collaboration? A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.” 27
The conclusion is obvious:
“Pius X was canonised primarily for the purity of his teaching and his strength of soul in defending the Catholic Faith. He remains the great Doctor of the Faith in the 20th century.
“ It follows that Paul VI will one day be anathematised primarily on account of his Utopian MASDU which had been condemned in advance. He is and remains the great Corrupter of the Faith in the 20th century.”28
THE FIRST “LIBER ACCUSATIONIS”.
On January 16, 1973, Fr. de Nantes was the guest on Jacques Chancel’s radio programme ‘Radioscopie’ 29: “A flood of letters, from a hundred to a hundred and fifty per day until the end of the month, allowed me in turn to do a radioscopy of the people of France. It is just another way of carrying out a survey. I did not count more than twenty furious letters out of a thousand. The others were from people extraordinarily moved and satisfied to have heard a priest after their heart.” 30
Nevertheless, praying, begging and groaning for the Church’s deliverance, or even suffering through her and for her no longer sufficed. At the end of his preliminary study for a Third Vatican Council, Fr. de Nantes resolved to undertake an ultimate step: “We have to go to Rome and remonstrate with the Pope in person concerning the heresy, schism and scandal for which he is primarily responsible. We will go despite our obvious unworthiness, only astounded that so many others, that all the others, who are replete with wisdom, science, virtues and holiness, had not risen before us, had not been chosen and sent by Our Lord in preference to us.” 31
This was his mission, a truly overwhelming one. On March 27 of that year 1973, when our Father was celebrating with great emotion the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination, Brother Gérard confided to our friends in a letter:
“Our Father is finishing today the first part of his Book of Accusation, concerning the personal heresy of the Pope. How terrible it is! These first fifty pages alone would suffice to cast full light on Paul VI’s responsibility in the agony of the Church. The chapters ‘schism’ and ‘scandal’ will be shorter: the facts speak for themselves, without need for further comment.
“The brothers and I, however, attest that it is with tears in his eyes that our Father composed this document. The amount of work required, the abundance and variety of the documents that had to be consulted and quoted, overwhelmed him with a feeling of anguish, and this excellent Father seemed to lose somewhat not only his smile, but even his sleep and health due to it. Yet, with God’s assistance, the prayer of his brothers and sisters and of you all, our good friends, the work took shape and already rises like a monument of truth, for the honour of God and of our beloved Mother Church.”
Essentially, this Book of Accusation was an appeal “ from the Pope to the Pope,” following the example set by St. Bernard himself vis-à-vis Innocent II, although for a simple disciplinary matter: “ Who will refute you for me? If I had a judge before whom I could drag you I would have already shown you what you deserve. There is indeed the court of Christ, but far be it from me that I should think of summoning you before Christ’s tribunal! I therefore have recourse to him to whom it is now given to judge all Christendom. I appeal from you to you yourself to pronounce between you and me.”32
Since the First Vatican Council (1870,) the dogma of pontifical infallibility, carefully defined within its exact limits, offers every member of the faithful the possibility of appealing from the prevaricating Pope to the infallible Pope: “ Tell us therefore where God’s Truth lies, and where the heresy, the schism and the scandal; proclaim it solemnly and we will believe your Word.” 33
Thus it was that on the following April 10, a Book of Accusation was taken to Rome by our Father surrounded by sixty friends and delegates of the Catholic Counter-Reformation League, representing a “Roman Legion” supported by the adherence of more than four thousand signatories.
The title alone is an explicit act of Catholic faith:
“ 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, we present a complaint against our brother in the faith Pope Paul VI, for heresy, schism and scandal.”
The tone was set in the first lines:
“Most Holy Father,
“Who am I, Your Holiness, to dare 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 [...]. How, then, dare I rise up against you [...]? Where do I find the audacity and the right to lodge a complaint to you about yourself, before the entire Church? Most Holy Father, I draw the right to do so in that very Faith, Hope and Charity which the Holy Spirit bestows upon all the Faithful.” 34
The numerous quotations of the Pope warranted this severe admonition, at the centre of which lay the main accusation dealing with the proclamation of religious liberty and the “ cult of man,” on December 7, 1965 at the closing of the Council, “ in the presence of the bishops of the whole world. How far these were inattentive, or your accomplices, or fascinated by you, I do not know. Holy Mother Church, however, cannot and will never be able to subscribe to such a philosophy [...]. The capital charge we bring against you concerns your liberalism and your cult of man, which we maintain are blasphemous, heretical, schismatic and finally 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. You, however, know that I am not lying. If I have told the truth, then cut yourself off from this Sacred Body that you have betrayed!” 35
“I was with Fr. de Nantes” related Jacques Mourot, the secretary general of the League, “among the sixty people who descended towards the Bronze Gate on April 10; with him we came up against the police cordon, in the same way as we had been turned out of the public audience at which the Holy Father did not want to see us. Well, I have never felt more Roman, more Roman Catholic that in those sorrowful hours. It is with every fibre of our being that we felt at home in Rome and, on the other hand, the conciliar and papal Reformation seemed out of the ordinary, alien in these places, not at all Roman or Catholic.” 36
The theologian of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the twentieth century had received for sole reply from Pope Paul VI a barrage of armed carabinieri and plainclothes policemen who forbade him the access to his palace. What an admission of weakness and still more of guilt!
“The tragedy is this: the Pope did not receive us, solely and absolutely because he did not want to receive the Book [...]. To take the Book and open it would have been the end of him. If a bomb disposal expert is unable to defuse the bomb, he will be killed by it. Paul VI has no curiosity to know what the Book contains: he is familiar with the gist of it already, as the result of the Process at the Holy Office instituted against myself, at my own request, between 1965 and 1969. And as a result of that he knows also what conclusion would follow any Process against himself, were such a one ever to be opened!” 37
THE SACRED HEART OF JÉSUS AND THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY: THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD.
The Vatican, however, kept silent. After weeks of waiting, our Father wanted to turn towards Heaven in order to carry out “his duty to the end!” July 1, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Precious Blood, we would consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the ultimate recourse in these times of distress,” in order that “He grant us strength, perhaps prevailing. If not so, we would have at least made a step further towards holiness. Whatever the case may be, we will change nothing in our doctrine: we would rather die than prevaricate.” 38
Thus our Father consecrated our Maisons Saint-Joseph and Sainte-Marie to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, including in this consecration the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the just and prudent Heart of St. Joseph:
“ We are not asking for ourselves a different lot than the one that You have given us until this day. Although our wretchedness is extreme and the ordeals of the Church scarcely bearable for us, we willingly accept that so much sorrow continues, at least as far as we are concerned, for another long year without any change if such be the design of Your wisdom. We will put all our energies into keeping faith, firm hope, ardent charity, and into growing in piety, regularity, gentleness and with a smile for everyone, in a spirit of self-renunciation and sacrifice, everyone according his share of grace and Your will.”
He extended this consecration to the “ Sacred Heart of Jesus, salvation of the world” to the entire League on October 18 39:
“ Lord Jesus, must the earth tremble on its foundations, must the Church be as though in ruins and the throne of Peter shaken, must our countries be on the edge of the abyss and thrown into a torrent of corruption, must the Third World War threaten? [...]
“ Oh Divine Heart of Jesus, take pity on us, forgive us, sanctify us. Make us the soldiers of Your glorious combat, the servants of Your altars, the ardent devotees and propagators of Your cult in order that Christian hearts may at last turn towards you!” 40
In November 1973, the Italian edition of the Book of Accusation was ready. It was firstly and foremostly destined for the Roman clergy “with a view to pursuing our legal, canonical, hierarchical and ecclesiastical enterprise against ‘the abomination of desolation established in the holy place,’ this baneful Reformation of the Church launched by Vatican II and conducted by Paul VI at top speed.” 41 Our Father therefore went to Rome with Brother Gérard to distribute the Book of Accusation “to all the cardinals and priests of Rome, but also for information, to all the members of the Roman Curia.” 42
In December, he wrote:
“So what are we to do, what to hope for? We have undertaken all that was humanly possible, and we shall continue [...]. Archimedes’ words are true, and they are a ray of light for us as they were for Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. ‘Give me a levering point and I can raise the world.’ Our levering point is God, and the lever with which we are asked and promised still today, to raise the world and prepare its salvation, is devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” 43
“A good Christian, a good Catholic family, even better, a nation, better yet, the Church, through her hierarchy and in her entire body, when they decide to dedicate themselves to the Heart of Jesus and to consecrate themselves to the extent of giving Him a public cult, consequences will follow. In this total conversion made out of love, all their ideas of humanism, liberalism, secularism, socialism, democracy that are for them a different, conflicting, abominable religion will melt away in the heat of Love.” 44
In the following year, on October 19, 1974, a new meeting was organised in the main conference room of the Mutualité in Paris under the aegis of Our Lady of Fatima, the ultimate recourse: “ For a New Christianity under the Sign of Fatima.” At the end of the conference, in a telegram addressed to Paul VI, Fr. de Nantes demanded the publication of the ‘Third Secret,’ “the Secret of Mary to the world, in order that the Holy Year might be a year of conversion, prayer and penance with the intention of strengthening souls for the imminent trial.” 45 The year 1975 was, in fact, a jubilee.
The Holy Father turned a deaf ear, but not Our Lady! For She kept the chosen one of Her Immaculate Heart in reserve, a new St. Pius X for the deliverance and purification of Her Church.
(1) CRC no. 25, October 1969, p. 12.
(2) CRC no. 30, suppl., Easter 1970, p. 1.
(3) Ibid., pp. 3-4.
(4) CRC no. 30, March 1970, p. 4.
(5) Editorial of CRC no. 30, March 1970.
(6) CRC no. 31, April 1970, pp. 1-2.
(7) CRC no. 40, January 1971, p. 2.
(8) CRC no. 35, August 1970, p. 13.
(9) This is an allusion to the three categories in the Third Order: Spiritual, Charitable et Apostolic, Military – i.e., the team of stewards – that were proposed to the members of the League (cf. CRC no. 32, May 1970, p. 13).
(10) CRC no. 36, September 1970, p. 13.
(11) CRC no. 33, suppl., June 1970.
(12) Cf. Letter to My Friends no. 39, July 1958.
(13) Spiritual Reading for our sisters, October 19, 1973.
(14) Confidential letter of December 8, 1969, CRC no. 27, p. 17.
(15) Letters to My Friends no. 186 of October 15, 1964, p. 1 and no. 188 of November 12, 1964, p. 4.
(16) Conference of October 14, 1971, CRC no. 50, p. 10.
(17) CRC no. 45, June 1971, p. 12.
(18) Conference of October 14, 1971, CRC no. 51, December 1971, p. 7.
(19) CRC no. 63, December 1972, pp. 7-8.
(20) CRC no. 73, October 1973, p. 4.
(21) Ibid., p. 7.
(22) Dinner debate at the Lutétia of February 3, 1972, CRC no. 54, March 1972, p. 5.
(23) CRC no. 47, August 1971.
(24) Letter on the Sillon, August 25, 1910, no. 33.
(25) Populorum Progressio, no. 47.
(26) Speech to representatives of non-Christian religions in Bombay, December 4, 1964.
(27) Letter on the Sillon, nos. 38-39.
(28) CRC no. 47, August 1971, p. 13.
(29) The tape recording of this radio programme, Radioscopie, which created quite a stir, is available in French at Maison Saint-Joseph (A18,) or can be listened to on our French VOD website (https://vod.catalogue-crc.org)
(30) CRC no. 65, February 1973, p. 15.
(31) CRC no. 64, January 1973, p. 1.
(32) Letter 213.
(33) Liber I, p. 4.
(34) Liber I, pp. 3-4.
(35) Ibid., p. 21.
(36) CRC no. 74, November 1973, p. 1.
(37) CRC no. 68, May 1973, “ The Lesson of Rome,” pp. 2-3.
(38) Sermon of June 1973.
(39) CRC nos. 74-75, November and December 1973.
(40) CRC no. 74, suppl.
(41) CRC no. 68, May 1973, p. 4.
(42) Cf. CRC no. 75, December 1973, p. 13.
(43) Ibid., p. 3
(44) CRC no. 75, December 1973, p. 9.2.
(45) CRC nos. 86-87, November and December 1974.