A SON OF THE CHURCH
III. Preparing Saint Pius X’s Return
I. THE COMPLAINT
« MOST Holy Father, have pity on your own soul! »
In August 1971, our Father presented, in CRC n° 47, an antithetical synopsis. “ The Catholic religion of saint Pius X and the political utopia of H. H. Paul VI ”. (...) It is obvious that they are diametrically opposed to one another. It can even be claimed that Pius X condemned Paul VI in advance, in his first encyclical. (...) We must choose ! If we profess to follow St. Pius X, we cannot follow Paul VI ! Otherwise, we love the Pope in word only.
In order to love the Pope not only in words but by acts of real devotedness, and with an extraordinary boldness, Fr. de Nantes went to Rome to bring him his remonstrations, first in May and June 1968, during his own trial, as plaintiff. Not having been found guilty of any heresy or of any schism, he came back as an accuser in April 1973 with ten brothers and around fifty representatives of a “Roman Legion” of more than 4000 members, signatories of this « complaint against our brother in the faith Pope Paul VI, on account of heresy, schism, and scandal ». (...)
The Pope refused to receive this remonstrance, the implacable argumentation of which was well known to him. Let us not forget that in 1968 he had himself informed daily about the trial. And the recantation that he emended personally, that was then submitted to Fr. de Nantes, scarcely concealed the failure of the judges and the theologians to establish the defendant’s errors. (...)
What an admission of guilt is this refusal to accept a book! (...) Paul VI could not accept this Book without being canonically compelled to reply to it: (...)
« So the Pope had no other choice but to shut himself up in his Palace surrounded by police and carabinieri, having given orders to all his entourage to do the same so as to avoid any contact with this bomb ; and then to use all the methods of the totalitarian system reigning in the Church for the past ten years to prevent the bulk of ordinary Catholics from coming into contact with it. My bomb would thus explode in the middle of a desert. Little did it matter if it became all the more evident by so many precautions, the damage would be minor. The strategy was perfectly conceived, decided and accomplished. It is now said, known, and recognised that Paul VI is guilty of heresy, schism, and scandal. And that’s that ! No one will speak of it ever again except the handful who constitute the “so-called League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation”. »
To whom could one apeal then in view of the authorities’ denial of justice? To the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
II. THE REBUILDING OF A CITY HALF IN RUINS
On July 1, 1973, on the feast of the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood, our Father consecrated Maisons Saint-Joseph and Sainte-Marie to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, including in this consecration the devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Just and Wise Heart of Saint Joseph. Then, on 18 October, in the great hall of the Mutualité the League was consecrated to the “ Sacred-Heart of Jesus, Salvation of the world ”. (CCR n° 44, November 1973). (...)
On October 19, 1974 : thirty years ago the annual meeting was held in the great hall of the “ Mutualité” in Paris under the aegis of Our Lady of Fatima, our ultimate and sole recourse : “ For a new Christianity under the sign of Fatima ”. At the end, in a telegram addressed to Paul VI, Fr. de Nantes requested the publication of the third Secret of Fatima.
The Blessed Virgin had heard this appeal, responding magnificently In the circumstances that we will see. She, however, did not wait long to inspire our Father with the courage to undertake the great toil required to « restore all things in Christ », and in the crucified Christ, and thus prepare the way for the for the holy pope of the Catholic renaissance.
A PROGRESSIVE TRADITIONALISM
(...) The monthly meetings of the Catholic Counter-Reformation held at the “ Mutualité” conference hall in Paris were inaugurated in November 1972, in the spirit of this holy pontiff, « the “ beacon ” of the twentieth century ». Our Father conducted these meetings for twenty-four years ! Each month, he delivered a one-hour analysis of current political events and, in a second hour, a lecture on kerygmatic, dogmatic, positive or moral theology, on French history, on scientific apologetics, etc. Its material was everything that was required to rebuild « the large city half in ruins » that Christianity had become ten years after the Council. It was a monumental work, the positive side of the negative criticism contained in the first Book of Accusation. (...)
In 1973, the very year of the voyage to Rome, our Father sought out a “kerygmatic” avenue between progressivism, on the one hand, and integrism on the other.
« The preaching (Kérugma) 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 which upsets his existence and his plans. » (CRC n° 63, December 1972, p. 7-8)
In the autumn of 1975, Fr. de Nantes, at the end of a series of conferences on the history of the Church, drew some conclusions from them which opened the way for future reconciliations : « In the Church, the innovator or the progressivist is always a rationalist who bends the faith to the demands of his logic. He is a naturalist who debases the splendours of divine grace to the level of human psychology. » In doing so, he gains the protection of the worldly, but produces neither miracle, nor heroism, nor holiness.
The innovator also incurs the opposition of the “integrists”, the defenders of the faith. « It is the sense of scandal and horror at proud innovation which rouses them against the heretics. They want to protect the most precious gift in the world – the Faith, the deposit of the Faith! » (...)
Nevertheless, « let the integrists beware lest, having waged a just war against the modernist heresy, they find themselves excommunicated and in schism when the Church – without them, regardless of them, and even perhaps against them – will already have rediscovered her peace and unity, far removed from their prejudices. (CCR n° 79, October 1976)
THE CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR A TRUE RECONCILIATION
(...) In the summer of 1977, a friend, the head of one circle of our League of Catholic Counter-Reformation, took up his pen to ask Cardinal Marty, in the name of his pastoral duty, to begin a reconciliation process with our Father. (...)
Contrary to all expectations, the Archbishop of Paris replied favourably and our father seized the opportunity, and after an exchange of letters, a meeting was organised with Carcinal Etchegaray in Paris on June 13, in the House of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. (...) How can we fail to see the hand of the Blessed Virgin? (...)
The two prelates were smiling. The welcome was simple, relaxed. After exchanging a few compliments, our Father then asked permission to explain the object of the meeting by reading a note in which he recapitulated his curriculum vitae in twelve points:
NOTE PRESENTED TO THE CARDINALS MARTY AND ETCHEGARAY
« 1 – I believe in the Holy Roman Catholic Church and I recognise His Holiness Paul VI as the true and only Pope, and the Bishops in communion with Him as true and legitimate bishops.
« 2 – From 1964 on, I thought I discerned errors and heresies in the Acts of Pope Paul VI and of the Second Vatican Council. I then publicly formulated my opposition to these novelties that, to my thinking, undermined the deposit of divine Revelation.
« 3 – I was threatened with interdict by Bishop Le Couëdic, of Troyes, by reason of this rebellion in December 1965, then suspended a divinis by him in his diocese on August 25, 1966, a suspension which has been prolonged by his successor, Bishop Fauchet, to this day.
« 4 – Bishop Matagrin, of Grenoble, the diocese to which I belong, did, however, grant me the power to celebrate and distribute the sacraments; even so, he withdrew my Celebret in 1972 – at the request of certain bishops, he told me but without withdrawing my faculties.
« 5 – At my request, my writings were examined by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between 1966 and 1968. I was summoned to Rome for the closing of the hearing of this trial in May and again in July 1968. It was at the time when Pope Paul VI’s Credo was being prepared and then proclaimed. This Credo, according to what I was told then, was to signal a restoration of the faith and of the Church’s discipline.
« 6 – In July 1968 and again in July 1969, I was summoned to sign a formula retracting my criticisms and expressing boundless and universal submission to the Pope, the Council, the Bishops of France and my own particular Bishop.
« 7 – The absolute character of such a formula seemed unacceptable to me, and I refused to sign it. On August 10, 1969, I learnt from the newspapers that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had declared me to be “ disqualified”. On this “ disqualification” are based all the public warnings against me, against the League of the Catholic Counter-Reformation which I founded and against the monthly bulletin of the same name which I direct. Bishop Fauchet invokes this act by Rome in order to justify perpetuating my suspension.
« 8 – In 1973, I wrote a “ Libellum of accusation against Pope Paul VI for heresy, schism and scandal”. I went to the Vatican to present it to him, accompanied by sixty of my collaborators, but we were denied access to the Vatican and the Holy Office by the Italian police.
« 9 – In November 1973, we distributed this “ Libellum” among the Roman dicasteries, but with no apparent result.
« 10 – On July 22, 1969, I publicly opposed the schismatic ideas and projects brought to my knowledge. I disavowed and broke with those who were leading the faithful down the path of rupture with the Church. I refuted their doctrinal errors, in particular concerning the validity of the new sacramental rites; I denounced their rejection of the actual visible Church and their setting up of separate chapels; I also rebuked the exasperation, the contempt and sometimes the hatred provoked among the faithful.
« 11 – From 1971, I considered it prudent to reconsider my opposition to the novelties – trying to distinguish in the present Reform that which is a matter of homogeneous and continuous development of dogma, of normal progress in exegetical, historical and catechetical science, as well as that which is an evolution of liturgical and canonical institutions from their systematic alteration or destruction.
« 12 – I came to desire that my Roman judges should reconsider our overall differences and that the possibility of an agreement and of paths of reconciliation be examined: “in the unity of the faith, diversity of opinions, and the charity of the Church”.
« During the interim and whilst awaiting a further clear, precise and definitive examination of the controversial points, I would like my Celebret to be restored to me by my Bishop, Bishop Matagrin or Bishop Mondésert, and the suspension which I have endured for twelve years in the Diocese of Troyes to be lifted.
« Paris, June 13, 1978, « Bro. Georges of Jesus »
(...) Cardinal Marty acquiesced, very calmly and paternally:
– My wish, our Father continued, is that the Roman theologians would impose on me, not a total retraction, but a formula of submission that is precise and limited. I am not prepared to sign just anything. »
It was agreed! The cardinal sent the note to Rome in the diplomatic bag. (...)
Four months later, Fr. de Nantes learned that his request had been accepted by Rome and that serious consideration was being given to it in the offices of the Secretary of State. On Friday, 20 October, Father Lucien Lefeuvre, who held a position in this dicastery, confided to a member of the League staying in Rome at the time: « I would not be betraying a secret, this ecclesiastic explained to him, if I told you that Fr. de Nantes’ case is currently under study. A reconciliation would be desirable, for this priest does much good around him. But one must be patient. The agreement is not yet around the corner. »
Meanwhile, on the evening of feast of the Transfiguration, Pope Paul VI died and, on August 26, John Paul I, “The Pope of the Secret” succeeded him. This was Our Lady of Fatima’s response, but we were then unaware of this.
However, the “reconciliation” process had a chance of success because Cardinal Luciani had admitted his own intimate conflicts: « “ The most difficult thesis for me to accept was that on religious freedom. For years I had taught the thesis that I had learned in the course on public law given by Cardinal Ottaviani according to which only truth has rights. I studied the problem in depth and in the end persuaded myself that we had been wrong.” That phrase is the admission of a disarray – the disarray that we still feel, » our Father added (CCR no 102, September 1978). (...)
III. OUR FATHER'S MYSTICAL TEACHING
Although it had not been divulged, the last words of the Third Secret did not remain a dead letter during all this time of intense controversies. The vision of the transfigured Church, « the nocturnal presence of Heaven on earth » glimpsed on the « Thabor of impoverished glory » that our Maison Saint-Joseph was (September 1969) in the days following the “ disqualification” incurred by our Father, and the love of the Church contemplated in the Sacred Heart of Christ, her Spouse, « as serene and peaceful as a satisfied child on the bosom of his mother, » (November 1969) did not fail to be the hidden source of the daily fight, encouraging many souls to « make their way to God ».
The first Mystical Page was already a « complaint on account of heresy, schism, and scandal »:
« Our Father who art in Heaven, I love Thee and I suffer », was written on the last page of CRC n° 5, of February 1968, entirely devoted to protesting against the blasphemies of the Dominican father, Jean Cardonnel, whose revolutionary preaching ignited the conflagration of May 68 by proclaiming that God is nothing more than « the divinisation of obscure forces at work in humanity ». (...)
The following Mystical Page, in March 1968, is an ardent declaration of faith, hope and charity:
« From the day I believed in Thee, O Our Father, I no longer felt any displeasure…
« No nothing at all, no, I regret nothing, neither possessions nor sorrows, neither life nor death, neither tears nor laughter, nothing that has passed away leaves me with the nostalgia of “Never, never again”, while You cause to echo in my heart the promise of“Always, always more and better!” What will You give me then in this eternal future that will be able to console me for what has passed away? Your Presence, O my God, Your Face, and even, in the light of Your Glory, all these vanished goods that I will rediscover in You, conserved, brought back to life and saved. Why not think about it, when this blissful vision of peace transforms our regrets into an exhilarating expectation of imminent Heaven, and our present death into life! (...)
It is above all the thought of Heaven that sustains this long patience. Described as a reflection of our human relations, by summoning up the « memory of the paradise of our holy childhood », Heaven is « the family back together again », since it is the circumincession of the Divine Persons glimpsed in the light of a family gathering: « O glorious and most lovable Trinity of God, You resemble us so much! » This is a vision as remote from quietism as it is from Jansenism. (...)
« To make one’s way to God » is to persevere in the celebration of Divine Office throughout these difficult years, according to the time-honoured tradition of monastic prayer. The Mystical Pages make us truly savour its flavour, beginning with the “ First nocturn” of matins (February 1974) up to compline and the great “ Salve”, « the evening kiss to our Mother, which we would never want to miss, Salve! » (March 1975)
The Mystical Pages have an aura of devotion towards the Virgin Mary which blossoms into a powerful theology:
« O most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, I do not want a beauty that would deprive me of wisdom and this is why I chose You for queen and for friend –I dare not because of my sins say, with St. Bernard, for unique spouse – You, the perfect Beauty who engenders Wisdom… At these words alone my soul vibrates like the David’s harp, my spirit communes with the essential mystery of God’s works. You are the revealer of divine secrets; Your virginal maternity explains the act of creation as well as that of salvation: all the marvels of God are marked by a Wisdom radiating beauty and joy, in Love. »
Starting in May 1977, the Mystical Pages consisted in “ speaking of beatitude”, until April 1978, when all had been said… since Heaven had been spoken of! But what remains is to win it, as St. Bernadette used to say, by many battles…
Brother Bruno of Jesus
Taken from He is Risen! n° 21, May 2004