Georges de Nantes.
The Mystical Doctor of the Catholic Faith.
21. The House of God Is on Fire!
IN the aftermath of John Paul I’s tragic death, Father de Nantes hoped that the Cardinals convened for the Papal Conclave would renew the good choice they had made in August. Nevertheless, the traditional orientation that the ‘smiling Pope’ had given to the papacy in the space of a month alarmed many of them, and the possibility of an anti-Conciliar reaction frightened. There were transactions. Cardinal Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Krakow, knew that he was papabile. He was well-known in Rome ever since he had preached in 1976 in the Vatican before Paul VI a retreat entitled ‘The Sign of Contradiction.’ From an Eastern bloc country, Karol Wojtyla, was a widely travelled, athletic and polyglot Polish Catholic, and an assiduous worker. When he was elected in the evening of October 16, 1978, and took the name of John Paul II, all the Fathers of the Conclave declared themselves satisfied, “but each one for his own reasons that were no longer the same for all” 1.
Three days after the election, Father de Nantes cautiously reserved judgement, at his monthly meeting at the Mutualité Hall in Paris on October 19, putting forward two hypotheses:
“Either John Paul II will forge ahead along the line of Paul VI and his Masdu humanism. It will be an intoxicating adventure, the stabilising of the intellectual revolution.
“Or John Paul II will restore the dogmatic faith and the great moral discipline. It will be a trial of strength.”
Is John Paul II “a Saint Pius X without knowing it?” our Father asked? Studying the complex life of the new Pope, he immediately pointed out the profound divergences that distinguished him from Cardinal Wyszinski, the Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw. In 1950, in order to avoid the worst, the cardinal had signed an agreement with the communist government of Beirut establishing a modus vivendi between the Church and the State. On the strength of this agreement, the Primate of Poland had fought ever since then “on the sole grounds of religious and not humanist, on Catholic and not revolutionary demands, thus leaving to the Polish Communist State its legitimacy and sovereignty.” On the contrary, what counted the most for Karol Wojtyla, young intellectual modern cardinal invoking the incendiary absoluteness of human rights, was “insurrection for Freedom, which is so much part of the tradition of dear, romantic Poland,” yet he knew that “the price to pay for such a heroic but mad revolution would be a Soviet invasion, other massacres like Katyń, the annihilation of the Polish nation, genocide, under the apathetic gaze of the West!” 2
THE POPE OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN.
On this point, as on others, Pope Wojtyla’s personality represented a danger. Father de Nantes who still wanted to believe in the Polish Pope’s deep faith feared the consequences of his insane policy that played into the hands of international Communism. Under the title “The Polish Illusion,” he commented on John Paul II’s first triumphal trip to his native country, in June 1979:
“For eight months now I have been haunted by the thought of 1830 [the date of Poland’s uprising against tsarist Russia] and of all my thoughts and reflections, the fact that the hands of the Catholic clock have been turned back to 1830 seems to arrest my attention and demand commentary. We are back in 1830 to relive that hour of Liberty with its glorious insurrections and exaltation of future fraternity. It was a mad dream then but we are going to dream it a lot more today – much too much – in the Church of John-Paul II, the Polish Pope, the Pope of human rights.” 3
The previous January, our Father had published a complete criticism of the political philosophy that underlies “the universal Declaration of the rights of man,” the thirtieth anniversary of which had just been celebrated.
He denounced its revolutionary and impious character, as opposed to the ‘Syllabus,’ the charter of Christendom of the past, whereby “the basis for such a human community consisted in submission to the Will of God, speaking to men through His Commandments and letting each man know through the events of life precisely what He wanted for him, by way of happiness and suffering. God was a Father to be feared, but prayed to and loved. From that religion flowed the love and service of one’s neighbour in the human community that had given us life, education, bodily and spiritual goods, and above all the true religion. The individual learned respect for his elders and submission to the authorities and to all those whose constant function it was to watch over the common good and, come what may, to distribute to each and all, rights and duties, the benefits of civilisation and its services, its exigencies, even the supreme sacrifice [...].
“The opposite of Christendom’s Charter, which by tacit consent Christians no longer accept, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, now doubled by the Declaration of Women’s Rights and trebled by the Declaration of Children’s Rights. This faith in Man, this defence of his rights, firstly of his freedom, his religious freedom above all, and then of his political, economic and family freedom; this insistence that all human questions, all relationships and all social exchanges be regulated by reference to the individual man and his rights, is a first principle, a faith, a sentiment and an absolutely new will in the world and, in universal tradition, it is an unprecedented revolution. It is so profound, so radical and such a departure from our religion, our customs and our centuries-old culture that one is bound to ask what Spirit inspires this cult of Man.” 4
Despite the Polish Pope’s commitment in favour of human rights, which he combined with an regrettable liberalism in his way of governing, our Father, however, still wanted to believe in a restoration of the Church, the fruit of John Paul I’s sacrifice: “We will follow these events in vitro, as though through a window, in full light, untroubled, but in prayer and hope, doing our best to help our Holy Father, the Pope.” 5
THE CONSOLIDATION OF CONCILIAR HUMANISM.
“The first time I felt a sacred anguish for the Church and for our countries, whose salvation depends entirely upon the Church, was on October 11, 1962, when the Opening Speech of the Council was read [...]. The second time was on August 6, 1964 with the publication of Paul VI’s encyclical Ecclesiam Suam [...]. The third time I was gripped by such a sacred anguish, but this time aggravated by an immense disappointment, well, it was yesterday, March 15, 1979, with the publication of the inaugural encyclical Redemptor Hominis of our well-loved, much admired and esteemed Pope John-Paul II.” 6
In fact, the state of uncertainty had come to an end: “It is with immense grief that we learn from his encyclical ‘Redemptor Hominis’ that His Holiness John-Paul II lays claim to Paul VI’s heritage and makes his own his cult of man, his faith in man, his exaltation of man’s dignity and the claiming of man’s rights, which are the manifest causes of the Church’s decadence and of the divine curse on the world.”
What should be done? “Should I remain quiet, whilst keeping my thoughts to myself, and write about other things instead? Should I align myself with the encyclical in accordance with the theory developed in the manuals, which is that of ‘a respectful and interior submission,’ even at the cost of a veritable intellectual and moral abdication, and then stop writing and talking altogether? Or should I tell and publish for the third time the certain reasons for my anguish at this foreboded and feared blow, which exceeds all that I have experienced thus far? I have chosen this last course as the most honest, equitable and charitable [...]. Our Catholic Counter Reformation combat continues in anguish but in hope.” 7
“It is not we who lead the Lord Jesus our King,” he confided on March 25, the day of the Annunciation, “but He Who leads us by paths at times we would rather not have taken [...]. His call ‘Come, follow Me’ brooks no delay, no looking over our shoulder, no running after our own doings, but it demands renunciation, a new departure for adventure or rather for fresh sorrows and new calvaries.” 8
In April, our Father removed the second part of the title: ‘Catholic Renaissance,’ which had been added just after John Paul I’s election, from the banner of the monthly review. The fundaments of this much desired Renaissance are Catholic and they have royal and communitarian consequences. Although the Renaissance was deferred until the hour of God’s choosing, its doctrine was the theme of the conferences at the Mutualité Hall during that year (1979) and it was condensed into a ‘Little Red Book,’ The 150 Points of the Phalange. Our Father had the joy of distributing it to our friends gathered for the Congress, on September 30, 1979, under the patronage of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “At the end of the High Mass, I had the idea of distributing them in the chapel, still donned in priestly vestments. It resembled a procession and I seemed to be giving these 150 Points like a father gives bread to his children.” 9
In John Paul II’s inaugural encyclical, the first of a long series, Father de Nantes was not the only one who detected two intertwined speeches that form as though two distinct encyclicals. The first was Catholic and dealt with the redemption of mankind, the second was humanist and dealt with the service and the cult of man, according to the intolerable diplopia that affected the Pope’s thought. No one, however, had our Father’s lucidity and courage to denounce the principle whereby “the passage is made from Christianity to universal Humanism, the nexus of the cult of God and of God made man with the cult of man, of man who makes himself God:
“‘Christ is the perfect Man Who has restored in the children of Adam that likeness to God that had been disfigured ever since the first sin.’ Here we are still in the purest and firmest Catholic faith, that which reckons with original sin. ‘Because in Him human nature has been assumed, not absorbed, by the very fact (?) this human nature has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare’ There you have it, they have come out with it, we are superior to all! ‘For, by His Incarnation, the Son of God, in a certain way united Himself with each man’ – ontologically, physically, morally, virtually? It is not specified. It is a text from Gaudium et Spes (22:2). It effects the join between God and man; it shamelessly divinises man in one go, making the Cross of Christ, the Church, the faith, baptism and Christendom superfluous. Every man ‘has been raised to a dignity beyond compare’ and therefore above all!” 10
Straightaway, Father Georges de Nantes brought decisive criticism against one of the essential elements of John Paul II’s doctrine, the foundation stone of his cult of man, Paul VI’s calamitous heritage, the dead weight of which he wanted to impose on the Church. “The way of the Church is man,” the Pope was proclaiming everywhere. What a monstrous inversion! Father de Nantes vigorously protested: “The way of man towards God is Christ and, to put it simply, the Church.” Then, he formulated a new, courageous “Non possumus” against a universal chorus of praise.
The following year, on November 30, 1980, John Paul II published a new encyclical: “Dives in misericordia,” in which he developed a “Hegelian variation on the Gospel theme of the return of the Prodigal Son,” the latter becoming the symbol of the man of all times, who aspires to equality with his father. For, Mercy is nothing more than God’s recognition of the dignity and rights of man!
Through his own reflection, John-Paul II thought that he was invested with the mission of resolving “a certain antinomy which left the grand idea of Vatican II inoperative: to demonstrate that the new anthropocentrism of the Church is a faithful formulation of the old theocentrism but richer and more moving than that was. The Son of God becoming man, every man is thereby made God, ‘in some sort,’ ‘united’ to Him. Whereupon, universal admiration from the mass media, but it is a dead letter.” 11
Here are the practical consequences: The Pope re-awakens the spirit of resistance and liberation in Poland, then in the whole world, wherever there are oppressed, exploited and poor people. Any kind of liberation struggle or subversion is akin to him. Thus, acting in concert with all the international organisations, the Pope systematically defended ‘man’ against the so-called national security dictatorships, against the anti-democratic, anti-parliamentarian and thus necessarily anti-Communist regimes that were presented to world public opinion as corrupt and unbearable. He particularly had in mind the regime of President Marcos in the Philippines and of General Pinochet in Chile.
Human rights have become the obsessional theme of all his speeches. It was in their defence that he came to France to visit Unesco, in 1980 and that he made this astounding statement:
“The fundamental dimension capable of revolutionising the very foundations of the systems that provide the structure for all mankind and of freeing human existence, both individual and collective, from the threats hanging over it, is man, man in his wholeness, man whose life partakes of both material and spiritual values. Respect for man’s inalienable rights is at the basis of everything.
“This man is unique, complete and indivisible. In the cultural domain, man is always the primary factor: man is the primordial and fundamental factor of culture. In thinking of all cultures, I wish to say here in Paris, at the seat of Unesco, with respect and admiration, ‘Behold the man!’” 12
These were blasphemous words transposed from the divine Person of Jesus, who was presented scourged and crowned with thorns by Pilate to the crowd, to every man whatever his religion and his inner dispositions. This insane speech will remain “the most characteristic document of that strange period,” Father de Nantes wrote, “when the head of the Church is greatly honoured to expound to the freemasons their own doctrine, and to declare himself the most convinced of its adherents and the most zealous of its defenders. The Catholic faith is proportionately blurred. All preoccupation with the salvation of souls disappears; the Catholic faith is no longer necessary for salvation – is no longer necessary for anything. John-Paul II is never troubled by the many souls going to perdition, by atheism, by apostasy, heresy, schism and adherence to impious sects. His whole concern is to call mankind to growth and equalisation in wellbeing, culture and liberty. This slow drift towards a worldly Christianity, towards a profane humanism, results in an erosion of the faith among the clergy and among the Christian people.” 13
The assassination attempt, of which John Paul II was the victim on May 13, 1981, on Saint Peter’s square, could have, should have put an end to this apostasy On the contrary, it brought the Pope’s popularity to its peak.
Yet, it was an uncanny omen that it took place on a May 13! Ordained by the Queen of the most Holy Rosary “in order to bring the Pastor of the flock to obey the divine will expressed in Fatima and repeated so many times. Let us pray, for this sign is full of hope and is right on the mark! It is through the Pope that the Church will know the Secret of secrets that will dispel twenty years of imposture.” 14
While our Father courageously resumed his combat for the Church against apostasy, our Immaculate Mother would fortify him with invincible hope. In fact, after having preached a retreat at Josselin, on May 30 and 31, 1981, the theme of which was “The Whole Truth about Fatima,” our Father received such intimate graces from it that, until the end of his life, they remained his light in the darkness that did not cease to grow thicker.
Going over all the documents and testimonies available at that time, one by one, our Father studied the revelations and the message of Our Lady of Fatima, and he understood its whole divine orthodromy. While we have entered the “last times” and Satan’s final battle against the Immaculate is waging, the Good God only has but one will: the glorification of the Heart of His Holy Mother. God wants us to understand that He burns with sovereign love for the Virgin Mary and that He now wants to bring Her to the fore. That is why He wants “to establish in the world the devotion to this Heart” so tender and loving! This is what He ordains and this is what He will do, for salvation will come only through this means. By the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, sinners will convert and will thus avoid eternal Hell; the world will experience “a certain period of peace,” if the Pope deigns to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, with the bishops of the whole world, Then persecutions against the Church will cease. “In the end,” the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph!
This retreat brought “an intense joy, an extraordinary comfort, and a burning love for the Virgin to all hearts.” 15 In fact, this ardent devotion entered into the heart of our Father and from then on it developed until it took the centre stage as we shall see. This retreat was really a turning point in our community life, as our Father noted in the League entitled “A Marian Year Devoted to Fatima”: “These two days mark a stage in our spiritual life and in the combat of our League. Now we know enough about Fatima not to fear any longer [...]. Let us forge ahead, for we shall see the salvation promised by God!” 16
This certitude never ever left our Father. Without delay he gave one of our brothers the responsibility of elaborating his lectures, supporting them with the most serious documents in order to write a book. Nevertheless, the material was so abundant that, today, it fills three volumes under the title: “The Whole the Truth about Fatima.”
Since this retreat, the study of the message of Fatima has become central in the Community, a study that our Father continued to direct and to guide. Thus, in the face of the perils of that time, he organised in March 1981, at the Mutualité Hall, a great day of prayer, lectures and friendship so that by means of our supplications, we might avert the terrible threats from Russia that were hanging over Europe. 1983 being the most likely year for a Soviet attack, our Father launched a campaign of prayer “Deadline 83,” renewing these fervent meetings in 1982 and 1983, for he was sure “that the God of Mercy would answer our prayers, even beyond our expectations, through miracles and signs that would astound the world and bring it back to Jesus, Christ our King, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Divine Mother and ours, according to the promises of Fatima.” 17We were, in fact, spared since in 1984 Russia was the victim of unexpected disasters that forced it to abandon its projects for an invasion of Europe. Unfortunately, our countries did not return to Jesus and Mary though!
THE REMEDY TO THE CULT OF MAN.
Father de Nantes was all the better forearmed to denounce Pope John Paul II’s “cult of man,” his philosophical rationalism and generalised solipsism since he had something to set against it. It was “not a mysticism, which would be too premature and unable to replace the rest, but a total metaphysics. That is to say that pure intelligence, which is accessible to everyone, before faith, is already replete with the mystery of I AM, radiating being and love, even before learning His name as Bridegroom, Jesus!”
He brilliantly expounded the principles of this total metaphysics in his monthly conferences of the Mutualité Hall, in Paris, throughout the year 1981-1982, before showing that each chapter of this ‘transphysics of relations’ dovetails perfectly with the articles of the Catholic Creed. 18
He explained that we are so constituted that we are entirely relative and in many respects. We are born from relationships to our fathers, we live in relationships with our contemporaries, and we imagine a future for our successors and our descendants.
Ah! It is already a decisive liberation for the charity and the service of the community, the Church and the country!
“This new acquisition is capital in this century. It is a question of demonstrating to man that he is not the centre of the universe nor its end, that he himself is not his own finality. He is rather the creature of I AM, called by Him to fulfil himself and to save himself by being inseparably bound with his human brothers, with Christ to the praise of the Glory of God! Morality and mysticism are modified, becoming the opposite. Yesterday, there was a major risk of considering that all is due to Man, the absolute; today we know that the good, the beauty, the glory of relative man consist in the service of others, love, conviviality, the union in one Body, in the joyous docility to God who leads everything to universal plenitude.” 19
This relational metaphysics and its repercussions in all domains filled Father Hamon, his Eudist friend, with admiration: “I have a notion that your Opera omnia, being equivalent to a true ‘patrology;’ will form the Summa theologica of the new era, in the Church.” 20
Alas! Few minds in the Church recognised this. Yet, in July 1981, when, John Haffert pointed out to Sister Mary Lucy of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart that: “it seems that today we do not have great men like Pius X, Saint Benedict and Saint Gregory the Great,” Our Lady’s messenger replied: “We do have great men, but they are not recognised.” She could not have said it better.
A FOUNDATION IN CANADA.
In 1982, our Father decided to send two brothers to Quebec, to Saint-Gérard des Laurentides, in the diocese of Trois-Rivières, in order to exercise “their apostolate of monk-missionary imitating the one that we try to practise here.” 21 Thus, on June 17, Brother Peter of the Transfiguration and Brother Hughes of Christ the King sang the first Vespers of the feast of the Sacred Heart, in their poor little house, the remains of a former farm. Our Father assigned this foundation, which had been undertaken in a loyal relationship with the bishop, the vocation of building “a dyke in the present storm. Those who want it will find shelter there.” 22
Their “mission” was both to bring Canadians back to their tradition that was being directly challenged and denied by their leaders as well as by the masses, and to facilitate their access to the treasures of our ‘school of thought’, while blending into the parish setting. They brilliantly succeeded, thus bearing witness to both our attachment to the Church and our horror of schism. When welcoming postulants, our Father said: “We are developing the forms of monastic life and the apostolic and missionary forms of the next century.” (October 16, 1982)
A SHAMEFUL EXCLUSION.
Some time after the election of John Paul II, Father de Nantes learned from the Secretariat of State that it was hoped in Rome that the measures explored in 1978 with Cardinal Marty and Archbishop Etchegaray towards reconciliation with the Roman authorities would be successfully implemented. This approach had been interrupted by the death of John Paul I. Mon frère, s’il vous plaît un lien, « Cf. supra, p. 294-297. » rencontre de notre Père et les deux prélats.
Our Father thus resumed contact with his French intermediaries, offering the choice between two procedures: either the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would communicate to him all the dogmatic propositions and disciplinary decisions to which he should subscribe; or he would draft a list of the points that he disputed and for which he requested a doctrinal judgement.
Months went by, and since no reply came from Rome, in October 1979 our Father addressed himself directly to the Sovereign Pontiff in order to ask him to say “what the exact conditions are for ‘full’ membership in the Roman Catholic Church, or else what offences exclude one from membership.”
Rome, however, remained silent. A month later, our Father wanted to manifest his confidence anew by addressing a Message to the Holy Father, in the name of the 1,500 Catholics who had participated in the meeting of the League at the Mutualité Hall. The message informed the Pope of an “apprehensive reserve in the face of his political liberalism, his religious ecumenism, and his cult of natural man.” This time, the services of the Curia refused to transmit the message to its august addressee. The chain of transactions was broken. Father de Nantes informed his readers of it in June 1980:
“There was a renewal of contact, following my initiative, in 1978 but then nothing more. Rome no longer answers. Hello, Rome? No, the line is cut. I no longer exist for Rome. Rome, however, exists for us as before. My letters and my messages from the Mutualité Hall reach Rome, the Pope, but nothing comes back from there. You can mention the CRC to the Nuncio but he will look at you with a glacial eye and pass on.” 24
In May 1981, however – on May 13!– the Secretariat of State replied most officially to a private correspondent:
“Concerning Father de Nantes, the Secretariat of State reminds you that his present situation is not due to a simple misunderstanding with his bishop, as you seem to think, but to serious theological errors.
“for the Assessor, Msgr. A.Lanzoni.”
Since I had to go to Bologna to attend a Congress on the Holy Shroud, our Father wanted me to stop over in Rome to obtain – with much difficulty!– an interview, not with Msgr. Lanzoni, “who was not to be seen,” but with Bishop Re, his superior, the third highest person of the Secretariat of State.
I asked him what Father de Nantes’ “serious theological errors” were. I received this reply:
“This expression only appeared in a single, unique letter addressed by our dicastery to a private person, under the signature of Msgr. Lanzoni. It was only a circumstantial reply.” Although he assumed responsibility for the aforementioned letter, Bishop Re clearly stated to me that he was unaware of “any dogmatic, doctrinal, or even simply theological error” in the writings and teachings of Father de Nantes. “Nevertheless Father de Nantes could be reproached, in a more general manner with an erroneous ecclesial situation.
– What do you mean? Father de Nantes scrupulously observes the suspens a divinis. As for the disqualification of August 1969, it has no canonical value.
– That is true, however, your refusal of the Council places you in an erroneous ecclesial position.
– This is precisely the question! Father de Nantes asserts that it is the Council which places the Pope, and at the same time, you yourself, Excellency, in a heretical, schismatic and scandalous ecclesial position.”
As for me, I left this interview rather discouraged. Our Father, however, hastened to publish and comment on the Roman prelate’s admissions:
“The defamer, having written that I was reproached with grave theological errors, has been disavowed and it has been recognised that we were not in error, neither dogmatically nor morally. The only thing wrong with us is that we are opponents, which is not well thought of at the Vatican, as in any court or party.
“But now the proposition I quietly enunciated hereby finds itself tragically reversed! If it is recognised that I am not in error, then He whom I contradict and oppose, in matters of faith and morals, is therefore in error, and up to the neck! [...] He, they who commit error upon error in grave matters of dogma and morals, must come out of their error. Let them not count on any flatterer or partisan to ask that of them, but again on us, and always on us for that. It is a terrible responsibility but a glorious task! For ‘we cannot not speak.’” 25 These are Saint Peter’s words to the Sanhedrin (Ac 4:20)!
Consequently, in November 1982, our Father addressed a petition to the Pope to ask him for an audience in order to lodge a Book of accusation “against the doctrinal errors, dissident and schismatic acts, and finally the scandals which abound under Your reign.”
The reply came three months later from Msgr. Angelo Felici, nuncio to Paris, who said that in view of the tone adopted by our Father in the latest issues of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, it was not possible to take seriously his desire for reconciliation.
Our Father rejoined on March 25, 1983 with a letter that he sent directly to the Pope. 26 He specified that it was not a question of being reconciled but of replying to his serious accusations of heresy, schism and scandal, and that in any case, he would present himself along with a group of brothers and friends in Rome on May 13, with a view to placing in the hands of the Supreme Judge of the Faith the Liber Accusationis, wherein were recapitulated all his grievances.
DEFENSOR OF THE FAITH.
On Easter Sunday, April 3, 1983, our Father confided to us:
“For many years, good heavens, almost twenty years, yes, twenty years! I have led this fight against the reformation of the Church only in the light of our common faith. I have always replied sincerely to those who were surprised at my self-assurance, at least to those who did not consider it to be a tranquil paranoia, that no apparition, no heavenly revelation played any role in it: faith, faith alone sufficed for all of us as the foundation of this enterprise, to justify this combat, unique, it must be said, in the annals of the Church. Probably this time it is more terrible. Last autumn I was upset, not to use high-flown words like overwhelmed or crushed. Faith still sufficed, and I asked nothing of the Father to continue this work.
“I am not saying that I had some vision or revelation – this is not the way God proceeds with me – but a grace that I cannot consider as being granted to me alone. I must have needed it, or it was meant to be a great help to me, but to you as well, my brothers, my sisters, our friends. What then is this grace of the Holy Spirit that is active in our hearts? A peace, a joy, a force without human cause, constant, unvarying, impervious to the fluctuations of everyday life, to its advantages, to its difficulties, to the favour or disfavour of the beings on whom everything hangs in the balance for us. It is also a communication of certainty: by following this line of action, we are doing what God wants [...]. This time, for a work that is too difficult, God is helping me.” 27
Indeed, it was with a great serenity of soul, but after forty days of intense work that our Father wrote his second Liber accusationis.
This book contains two parts, two charges: ‘Innovator’ and ‘Corrupter.’ The introduction poses the capital charge:
“It must be said to your face, Most Holy Father, that your religion is no longer that of the Roman Catholic Church, Christ’s unique Church, whose Head you are. Your religion is the religion of man who makes himself god and not the religion of God, the Son of God, who made Himself man. For the one excludes the other [...].
“Have I one deed or one text on which to rest such accusations? I have five hundred, Most Holy Father. But to begin with I shall give only one on which I am prepared to stake my entire faith and life. One on which the whole case could be judged; it is one of your recurring themes. That of the Kingship of Jesus Christ, a kingship which for you is not that of God made man, but that of Man whom you proclaim to be god. You invoke Christ, you mangle the Gospels in order to strip God of His divine and royal attributes, with which you then adorn man, Man become your idol, the object of your worship and service, of your love and striving.” 28
This text that our Father denounced is taken from the ‘Dialogue with André Frossard,’ published under the title ‘Be not afraid’ (sic!), concerning Our-Lord’s words to Pilate: “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Whoever is of the truth hears My voice.” The Pope commented: “Christ is King in the sense that in Him, in the testimony that He rendered to the truth, is manifested the ‘kingship’ of every human being, the expression of every person’s transcendent character. Such is the Church’s proper inheritance.”
According to our Catholic Faith, asserts Father de Nantes, this is its violent and blasphemous contradiction. John Paul II intends to make the Church the heir to this impious cause, to this idolatrous humanism! 29
Thus, the aim of this second Book of Accusation was to dismantle this infernal mechanism whereby Karol Wojtyla, who had become Pope John Paul II, intended to justify the ‘new humanism’ that his predecessor Paul VI proclaimed during the Council, by means of a an Hegelian synthesis between the modern world and his atheistic philosophy on the one hand, and the Catholic religion on the other. It is no longer a heteropraxy as it was with Paul VI, it is a heterodoxy, another religion.
“You believed, Most Holy Father, that you were doing a great work, doubtless for the greater glory of God and for the good of the Church, but you did it against all the solemn warnings of your most august predecessors. The unremitting labour of your life has been to reconcile modern atheistic humanism and age-old Christianity. In particular it has been to meet Marxism on its own ground and to push it, sympathetically, to its extreme consequences, in order to convert it rather than to combat and anathematise it endlessly and profitlessly.
“For this reason, you had to accept its criticism of religion and so work firstly to purify religion and consequently to reform it. You could then bring the adversary – who had thus been pacified by means of a closely argued dialectic – to listen to and even share your faith. It would be necessary to accept the humiliation of God, the ‘death of God’, but it would be justified by the promise of His triumphant return and of His ‘resurrection’ in the midst of the modern world.” 30
It is a God whom man no longer reaches in His reality, it is a purely ‘noumenal’ God, to use Emmanuel Kant’s expression, for the Pope explained to Frossard that we could not live “in a ‘pre-Einstein’, or even a ‘pre-Kant’ world!” How is it possible? “Man experiences within himself freedom, auto-determination, transcendence, ‘deity’ – he experiences his own absolute and his own infinite. In him, the ‘image of God’ is real and phenomenal. God is its figure, symbol, projection, and guarantee in the unobserved, unproven and unprovable ‘extra-empirical’ order of the ‘noumenal’. When all is said and done, “for a “phenomenal Pope, there is only Man, guaranteed by a fictitious noumenal God.” 31
The expression is a stroke of genius. Father de Nantes thoroughly penetrated the thought of John Paul II better than all his adorers and sycophants celebrating “an extraordinary Pope”: John Paul II believes that he alone is the first to have achieved the synthesis that dialectically resolves the contradictions of the previous stages of the confrontation of Christianity and atheism, he says yes to the modern world and to its atheist philosophy, and at the same time yes to God, to the Church and to Mary! Through the vital immanence condemned by Saint Pius X – but what does this matter to him? – he re-establishes and resuscitates in the deepest consciousness and the actual life of every human being, the religion that modernism excludes from historical and physical reality.
Well! This is precisely what the Church is dying from.
The second part of the Liber, which is entitled “Corrupter: You Are Putting Christ to Death,” constitutes abundant proof of the mutation that this Hegelian-Marxist theoria introduces into John Paul II’s praxis. This marks an obvious break with the whole former priestly and pastoral tradition of the Roman pontiffs.
Our Father completed his writing two days before the fateful May 13. He chose the date intentionally: “There is one Person who judges you,” he wrote to the Pope, “on behalf of God, in Whose glory She is enthroned, and Who will do justice to Her people. And that Person is the Most Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.” 32
ON MAY 13, 1983 IN ROME.
Father de Nantes arrived in Rome on May 12, accompanied by the Brothers of his Community and two hundred representatives of the League. After long and bitter negotiations, it was agreed that unlike 1973, he would be received in the palace of the Holy Office, with Brother Gérard and myself, and two representatives of the League, by Bishop Hamer, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a liberal, optimistic and sycophantic Dominican. As agreed, the discussions were carried out in the morning of May 13, in the tone of closely argued verbal jousting in which Bishop Hamer tried to catch our Father out on the form, but without ever tackling the fundamental problem.
In the end, as he lost patience the envoy of the Pope read the conclusions and demands that were formulated on a sheet of paper, which John Paul II himself had annotated:
1. He refused to receive the Liber on the grounds that the accusations were unjustified and gravely offensive.
2. He formally forbade its publication.
3. He asked Father de Nantes to retract all his errors and accusations of heresy brought against Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council, a retraction that had been required of him in 1968.
4. Until Father de Nantes has retracted his ‘errors’ and attacks made against the Council and the Popes, the Holy Father would be unable to give credence to the seriousness of his desire for reconciliation, but he still remained disposed to welcome him.
When he had finished reading, Father de Nantes spoke:
“I strongly deny your conclusion. I have never recognised any errors because none were charged against me during the preliminary investigation of my trial.
“Your errors were shown to you during the trial sessions in July 1968.”
“What errors? The only question that had been debated was my peculiar theory on original sin, which displeased Father Gagnebet. I told him that I was ready to renounce it.”
“Your errors, you know them very well.”
“I do not know them. I ask you to show them to me precisely.”
“It’s a waste of time.”
Then, I spoke to protest:
“Last year, Bishop Re, of the Secretariat of State, declared to me that Father de Nantes had committed no theological error.”
“Bishop Re was not at the trial. Now, we know what took place there: not only did the tribunal indicate your errors to you, but you acknowledged and retracted them. Then, you returned to them in complete bad faith.”
Bishop Hamer’s hands were trembling and his forehead was streaming with sweat. Father de Nantes interrupted him:
“That is absolutely false. It is a lie.”
“You do realise how disrespectful those words are.”
Father de Nantes stood up. The moment was pathetic. There were five witnesses; a large crucifix hung on the wall behind Bishop Hamer.
“In the name of the Crucified Christ, in the name of my God Who will be our Judge, I say, your Excellency, that you are a liar.”
Then, turning towards the secretary:
“Please note: ‘Your Excellency, you are a liar, a liar!’ I have nothing further to add.”
Then Father de Nantes left the parlour.
When we left the Holy Office, we found our friends in prayer before the Palace and our Father made an improvised declaration to the journalists, relating to them with great emotion his dramatic interview with the Secretary of the Holy Office.
On May 16, a ‘Notification’ of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was published in the Osservatore Romano; it made public Father de Nantes’ request for a trial to be opened against the Holy Father for heresy, schism, and scandal, and repeated the four points of Bishop Hamer’s verbal declaration, which we summarised above.
After a few days of reflection and prayer, our Father announced his resolution to the audience of the conference he gave at the Mutualité Hall in Paris that despite the orders that had been given to him, he would publish his Liber Accusationis. It was a duty, “if I want to confess my Catholic Faith and show the truth that is necessary to the life of the Church. I will now respond to the Notification in an Open Letter to the Pope and justify the publication of the Liber.” 33
The Letter was sent and received no reply. There was no theologian willing to debate it in public, no authority within the Church to make it the object of a dogmatic condemnation, in short no one to defend the Pope against it! The dereliction of duty of the Roman authorities repeating the one committed in 1973 was blatant. Yet, our Father affirmed in his letter, “the fact that we were neither heard nor condemned will also testify that the Church, in the silence of her sacred infallibility, recognised in us the witnesses to her indefectible Truth, and later, it will be in this silence and this secret maternal benevolence, that the Church’s unfailing fidelity to her only Spouse and Lord, Jesus Christ, will be recognised.” 34
This alone is precious in the sight of our Heavenly Father!
A month after this approach made to Rome, our Father preached at Josselin, at the estate of our excellent friend Pierre-Louis Lévesque, on the life and message of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, a prophet of the last times and of the reign of Mary Immaculate. A new John the Baptist, this priest with a flaming heart, who wonderfully led souls to that for which he was burning: the love of Wisdom, of the Cross and of the Blessed Virgin, composed a ‘Fiery Prayer’ for our apocalyptic times. With the same ardent zeal, our Father made this prayer his own:
“Let me then raise the cry of alarm: Fire, fire, fire! Help, help, help! The House of God is on fire! Souls are perishing in the flames! The sanctuary itself is ablaze! Help! Help! Good people! Help our brother who is being murdered. Help our children who are being massacred. Help our kind Father who is being stabbed to death!” (no. 28)
It is an extraordinary anticipation or the ‘Third Secret’ of Fatima.
“An Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; it flashed and gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire.”
How can we fail to recognise that we are living through the times depicted in the words of Saint Louis-Marie:
“Your divine commandments are broken, Your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even Your servants. The whole land is desolate, ungodliness reigns supreme, Your sanctuary is desecrated and the abomination of desolation has even contaminated the Holy Place. God of Justice, God of Vengeance, will You let everything, then, go the same way? Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will You never break Your silence? Will You tolerate all this for ever? Is it not true that Your will must be done on earth as it is in Heaven? Is it not true that Your Kingdom must come? Did You not give to some souls, dear to You, a vision of the future renewal of the Church?” (no. 5)
Here are the means:
“Give Your Mother this new Company so that You may renew all things through Her and bring the era of grace to a close through Mary just as You began it through Her.” (no. 6)
That was exactly the programme for the years to come.
CCR no. 108, March 1979, p. 7.
CRC no. 104, November 1978, p. 5.
CCR no. 112, July 1979, p. 2.
CCR no. 106, January 1979, “Masquarade for a massacre,” p. 12.
Letter to the friends of the community no. 27 of December 17, 1978.
CRC no. 110, May 1979, p. 4.
CRC no. 110, May 1979, p. 5.
Letter to the friends no. 28 of March 25, 1979, published in CCR no. 109, April 1979, p. 1.
CRC no. 146, October 1979, p. 14.
CCR no. 110, May 1979, p. 10.
CCR no. 151, October 1982, p. 3.
Quoted in CRC no. 156, August 1980, p. 2.
CCR no. 151, October 1982, p. 4.
Letter to our friends no 39 of June 29, 1981.
CRC no. 166, June 1981, p. 13.
CRC no. 166, June 1981, p. 13.
CRC no. 175, March 1982, p. 15.
CCR no. 151, October 1982, p. 10.
CRC no. 185January 1983, p. 2.
Lettre du 27 March 1994, publiée dans la CRC no. 302, mai 1994, p. 21.
Letter to our friends no. 43, du 15 August 1982.
Catholic Renaissance no. 176, March 2010, p. 2-3.
Cf. supra, p. 294-297.
CCR no. 123, June 1980, p. 1.
CCR no. 143, “Total disagreement”, February 1982, p. 1.
This complete correspondence was published in CCR no. 158, July 1983, p. 1-26.
Letter to our friends no. 46 of April 3, 1983.
Liber accusationis secundus, p. 4.
Cf. The sign of contradiction, pp. 107, 155-156, 175-176, commented in Liber secundus, p. 4-7.
Liber accusationis secundus, p. 63.
Liber accusationis secundus, p. 61.
Liber accusationis secundus, p. 125.
Conference of May 19, 1983; this Open Letter to Pope John Paul II is published in CCR no. 158, July 1983, pp. 10-23.
Liber accusationis, Envoy, p. 173