Pope Francis and the marriages in the Society of Saint-Pius X: Non possumus – We cannot enter into a canonical structure submitting ourselves to a modernist authority

Pope Francis and the marriages in the Society of Saint-Pius X:  Non possumus – We cannot enter into a canonical structure submitting ourselves to a modernist authority

Sermon of Father Philippe François (FSSPX) given on Easter Sunday 16th April 2017 at Le Trévoux (Britanny, France) where he exercises the functions of chaplain to the Little Sisters of Saint Francis

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

My reverend sisters, my dear brethren,

The grace of the feast of Easter is to fortify our faith.  And if our faith in Our Lord is fortified, by the same token our faith in His only and well-loved Bride, the Holy, Catholic and Roman Church is also fortified.  And that is very necessary in the testing times in which we live.

Two weeks ago, as you have learnt, Rome granted with certain conditions to the priests of the SSPX the jurisdiction to carry out marriages.  “Good news!” my cobbler said to me, “we are nearing the end of the tunnel.”

In reality, this jurisdiction was already given to us by the Church under the principles of the law which applies in times of crisis, in the state of necessity in which we find ourselves.  For almost fifty years, marriages which have been carried out in the priories of the SSPX and of Tradition have been valid.

But if one accepts the decision of Rome, one must accept the new code of canon law and the conciliar tribunals which apply this new code.

Now this new code destroys marriageIt changes the definition of marriage.  First of all this sacrament no longer has as its first end procreation and the catholic education of children, but it puts as its first end the good relationships between the husband and wife and their mutual support.  And this definition, you see, has led to tens of thousands of marriages being annulled during the last forty years, because, as the spouses no longer got on, the conciliar ecclesiastical judges said that there had been no marriage.  And these declarations of annulment of marriages, which had been concluded validly and then declared annulled, have accelerated again by the procedure which the Pope himself put in place eighteen months ago and which facilitates annulments even further.

This happened two weeks ago; and then almost two years ago it was the powers to hear confession which was accorded to the priests of the Fraternity, as if they did not already have these powers.  Now these powers to hear confession validly, the Church gives to your priests in a time of crisis, because canon law foresees supplied jurisdiction in the exceptional circumstances in which we live.  Archbishop Lefebvre often reminded us of one of the great principles of Saint Pius X’s code of canon law: ” the salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church”

These two events and others show us that a process of canonical regularization is in train since the time of Benedict XVI and with Pope Francis in regard to the SSPX and also in regard to the whole family of Tradition since the time of Benedict XVI and with Pope Francis .

This process of canonical regularization at present underway can be compared to the process of setting fire to a log of green wood.  When one throws a log of green wood onto the fire, it is incapable of catching fire, for there is an obstacle: it is the sap.  So the flame begins to lick the log in order to heat it up and to drive out the sap.  Once the sap is driven off, the log takes fire.  It is the same in our case, there would be an obstacle to the canonical statute – the reciprocal mistrust between the conciliar world and us.  The Pope’s gestures of “ benevolence” have as their aim the removal of this obstacle.  These gestures do not formally imply canonical dependence on the Roman authorities.  Once the obstacle of mistrust is removed, not much will prevent the granting of the definitive statute, which is the statute of the personal prelature, which has been under discussion between the superiors of the SSPX and the Holy See for six years.  So there would be the granting of this personal prelature, this time with effective dependence on the Holy SeeNotably the bishop, superior of the personal prelature, will be nominated by the Pope and therefore will be able to be revoked by the Sovereign Pontiff.

So the question is posed: can we enter into such a canonical structure?

To answer this question, my dear brethren, we must ask ourselves if the situation in Rome has changed to such an extent that we could envisage a canonical solution, a thing which we regarded as impossible just a short while ago.  Alas!  We are forced to state that nothing essential has changed:

The actions of the Pope are more and more serious.  The accumulation of scandals during the four years of his pontificate makes us really think that with him modernism has become flesh.

The reaction of some conservative cardinals or prelates, although it is courageous and merits being praised, does not however call into question the principles of the crisis; on the contrary they cling to the Second Vatican Council which apparently was properly interpreted by Pope Benedict XVI .

— The attitude of the Holy See with regard to Tradition is not benevolent – far from it.  The experience of the Franciscans of the Immaculate reminds us of this as well as the treatment suffered by Cardinal Burke and the other cardinals who opposed, on the occasion of the synod, the post-synodal declaration on the family Amoris LaetitiaIn the end the demands of Rome with regard to us are basically still the same.  We must still, even if it is asked less insistently, accept the council with its religious liberty, its ecumenism and its collegiality.

So what precisely are the grounds for our previous refusal of an agreement with Rome?  More exactly can we accept an agreement with a neo-modernist Rome?  Such an acceptance would make us enter into conciliar pluralism.  It would silence our attacks against modern errors and would put our faith in immediate danger.

Consequently the canonical solution can only be envisaged with a Rome which has been doctrinally converted and which will have proved its conversion by working for the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ and by fighting against the adversaries of this reign.

By putting ourselves in the hands of the Roman authorities we would put in peril our particular good no less than the common good of the Church.

* First of all our own good: for we are responsible for our soul and thus of our faith.  Now without the faith one cannot be saved ( Hebrews 11,6) and nobody can pass off this responsibility onto others.

* Next we would put in jeopardy the common good of the Church.  In fact we are not masters of the faith in the sense that we cannot modify it at our pleasure.  The faith is the good of the Church, because it is through the faith that she lives the life of her Divine Spouse.  The faith is a common good not only because it is common to all Catholics but also because the participation of everyone is necessary (although not in the same measure for everyone) in order to preserve it.  Confirmation makes of you, my dear brethren, soldiers of Christ.  Every Christian must be ready to run risks in order to defend the faith.  And the priestly character, joined to the mission of the Church, gives to priests the sacred duty of preaching the faith and of defending it publicly by combatting error.  We are members of the Church militant which is attacked on all sides by error.  To no longer publicly raise our voices against error is to become the accomplices of error.  And this is what we are living in Tradition, notably since 2011.  In 2011 the abominable scandal of Assisi was renewed and the superiors of the Society unfortunately, we deplore it, were silent.  In 2015 the unthinkable canonization of John-Paul II took place and the superiors of the Society were silent.

So it is impossible today to put ourselves, by a canonical solution, in the hands of the neo-modernist authorities because of their neo-modernism.  That is the true obstacle to our recognition by these authorities.

In doing this, take note my dear brethren, far from challenging the authority of the Pope, we are convinced that we render to him the most important service, which is that of truth.  By our prayers, we beg the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain for the Sovereign Pontiff the grace of doctrinal conversion, so that once again “he confirms his brothers in the faith” (Luke 22, 32).  For we are Catholics, so we are Roman, we are Roman Catholics attached indefectibly to the seat of Peter, to the infallible teaching of all the successors of Peter up to Vatican Council II.  We are of eternal Rome, which is the irreconcilable enemy of neo-protestant and neo-modernist Rome.  There can be no peace possible with conciliar Rome.

Also we pray every day for the superiors of the SSPX that they do not fall into the trap which is being tendered to our dear Society.  That they may rediscover the prudence, fearlessness and firmness of Mgr. Lefebvre in his fight for Christ the King!

So we cannot – non possumus - enter into a canonical structure submitting ourselves to a modernist authority.

We say this because it is our duty.  How so?

* It is our duty firstly with regard to Our Lord and HIs Holy Church. We do not have the right to run risks by making peace with those who betray them.

* Then it is our duty for ourselves, because we have our souls to save and we cannot save ourselves without the faith whole and entire.

* Finally it is our duty with regard to the faithful who have recourse to our ministry.  We do not have the right to lead them very gradually towards the poisoned pastures of Vatican II.

My reverend sisters, my dear brethren, in the present torment and confusion, we must remain faithful to authentic Catholic principles and stay rooted in them.  And so that it may be the light which enlightens us and guides our steps, we must draw the practical consequences and apply them rigorously in our every-day life and in our daily attitudes.  Coherence and non-contradiction are the logical consequences of full and entire adhesion to the Truth, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ.  As cardinal Pie said: charity which is the bond of perfection, must be dictated and regulated by the truth and it is in this spirit of charity which we must act.

So on this Easter Sunday, the present hour is the hour of the beautiful virtue of hope, for we see perhaps with more clarity, the insufficiency of human means.  But Our Lord rises from the tomb today, as yesterday, and with him His Church!

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, may Our Lady of Good Hope, who alone on Easter morning knew how to maintain hope, may the Blessed Virgin Mary maintain in our hearts the divine hope, the Holy Hope, that which pleases God, that which will not be disappointed for eternity!

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

(Sermon published in “Le Sel de la terre” n° 101)

The Descent of the Holy Ghost

The Descent of the Holy Ghost

By Fr McKenna O.P.

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In this Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, we commemorate:

— the coming of the Divine Spirit upon the disciples of Christ,

— and the foundation of our Holy Mother the Church.

Pentecost gloriously completes the cycle of the work of the Triune God:

— in the Creation, we worship the almighty power of the heavenly Father;

— in the Redemption, we behold with wonder the sublime mission of the Eternal Son, who said: “The Father hath worked till now, now I work.” Jesus finished in Calvary’s awful hour the work which His Father gave Him to do; and now, after His Ascension, He and the Father send down the Holy Ghost to complete the work of the Blessed Trinity;

— thus, the Holy Ghost is especially the gift of the other two Divine Persons.  His mission is the sublime work of guiding the Church, illuminating her supreme pastors, inspiring her saints, filling her doctors and her confessors with His choicest gifts, and establishing the reign of God in the souls of the faithful.

It is true that the Holy Ghost was always in the world. The Spirit of God spoke by the mouth of the patriarchs and the prophets from the beginning; but on the great festival of Pentecost He came in a different manner, being, in the language of Scripture, poured out on the disciples to fit them for their exalted office.  His advent was the especial fruit of our Blessed Lord’s sufferings and death. The world had no right to His coming; it was unfitted for His sublime presence and work.

But Jesus merited for us this heavenly gift, and went before the Father in order to plead for it in our behalf. “If I go not,” He said, ” the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John xvi. 7). Presenting His sacred humanity before His heavenly Father, Our Lord besought Him through His adorable wounds to bestow this sublime gift upon His followers.

And why was this?  Why, we may ask, was the Paraclete sent to us?  It was to perfect the work which the Son of God came on earth to inaugurate.  He had come to establish His Church, He had come to build the Bark of Peter. During His public life Our Lord had collected the materials for that vessel. He had placed its timbers in their proper order; and, to use a figure employed by the early Fathers of the Church, having completed that Bark of Peter, it was destined to sail over every sea, to brave every storm, to be tried by every tempest, to be pursued by every piratical enemy.  Men and demons would do their utmost to destroy it; but it was not destined to perish, for on it depended the salvation of the world.

On the first glorious Feast of Pentecost St. Peter’s Bark was launched — the sails of that mighty vessel were first unfurled.  What, then, was needed but a skilled Pilot to guide her course and favorable winds to fill her sails?  To-day, she commences her glorious voyage ; to-day, the divine Pilot — the Holy Ghost— is on board!  To-day, the winds of heaven fill her sails; to-day, her crew begin to cast forth their net. St. Peter’s Bark will sweep over every sea and gather in all souls destined for a happy eternity!

Let us here reflect for a moment upon the disciples of Christ, who formed the crew of that vessel. Let us consider their condition before the coming of the Holy Ghost.

In the first place, we are told that they were hidden away in an upper chamber in Jerusalem, fearing the Jews. They were timid, cowardly men; their faith was yet weak: their hearts were trem­bling within them. They dreaded to proclaim publicly the glorious name of their Master, in whom they firmly believed; nay, more, they were poor laborers — ignorant, uneducated men, little skilled in public preaching.

But lo! at the sound from Heaven, “as of a rushing mighty wind which filled the whole house where they were sitting,” a great change came over them. “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” says the Scripture. That Divine Spirit appeared to them like tongues of fire, whereby their exalted mission as preachers of the Gospel was typified and emphasized. Instantly their cold hearts burned with the fire of the Apostolate! Fear and, cowardice departed forever.

The Apostles, having become in a manner new men, are now inflamed with the love of God and with the desire for the salvation of all mankind. They go forth immediately to proclaim the dignity, the power and the sanctity of that name which was so despised by the Jews, the glorious name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus-Christ. Boldly declaring their belief in His divinity, these once timid men are now willing to die martyrs for their Faith and the cause of the Blessed Master. The effect of Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Three thousand were converted — “devout men out of every nation under heaven;” for at that time were gathered in Jerusalem, in order to celebrate the Pentecostal festival, Jews from nearly every part of the world whither the Hebrews had been scattered. All these were confounded, as the Acts testify, because every man with amazement heard the Apostles speak to him in his own tongue.

In creating this material world our heavenly Father was pleased not to leave it in darkness, but placed the sun in the heavens to shed light and heat over its surface, to bring fruits and flowers to perfection. And that sun is so exalted, so far removed from human influences, that no man or nation can interfere with its light. So, in creating His Church, our Blessed Lord gave to it His Holy Spirit, which is its true Light, abiding with it forever, and conducting its children to paradise by the way of Christian perfection. Nor can men or demons prevent that sublime mission:

— Following St. Peter, the first to claim the special indwelling of the Paraclete is the supreme Head of the Church, its visible ruler and vicegerent of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost abides with our Holy Father the Pope, illuminating his counsels, filling him with divine wisdom, guarding him from error in his teachings, and, in short, making him what he is — the infallible guide for both pastors and people1.

— He, the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity, is with the Church in her councils, filling her hierarchy with zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of their people2. He directs their deliberations, illuminating their intellects so as to guard their people from all error and heresy.

— He is with the individual bishop, assisting him with the work of his diocese.

— He is with the pastor, instructing and enlightening his people. He is with the priest in the administration of the Sacraments. In the words of St. Augustine: “When I baptize, it is the Holy Ghost who purifies; when I pronounce the words of salvation, it is the Holy Ghost who cleanses from sin; when I speak the words of consecration, it is the Holy Ghost who changes bread into the Body of Our Lord, and wine into His Blood.”

— The Holy Ghost is with the nun in the schoolroom, with the mother in the Christian home, teaching the child the simple but sublime truths of our holy religion. He is with the faithful, welding them together, uniting them, as the grains of wheat in the bread, into that glorious body of believers of which Jesus Christ is the Head3.

Sublime mission of the Holy Ghost! Wonderful gift of God to a sinful world! For nineteen hundred years4 has that sublime Spirit continually remained with the Bark of St. Peter, bringing and preserving therein all the children of God in the unity of faith and in the bond of charity.

From these marvelous conditions and results shall not all men, not willfully blind to the light of truth, believe and testify that the Church is the spotless Spouse of Christ, the immaculate Bride of the Lamb? “By this shall all men know,” says Christ, “that you are my disciples— if you have love one for another;” and again, in the discourse at the Last Supper: “I pray for them that they all may be one, as Thou, Father in me, and I in Thee” (John xvii. 21).

Proceeding to reflect upon the work of the Holy Ghost in the individual soul, we should, each of us, consider here the infinite debt we owe to that Divine Spirit for the precious graces which He has bestowed on us through the holy Sacraments:

— First of all, should we gratefully acknowledge the gift of Faith — that gift which is so inestimably precious that without it it is impossible to please God, as St. Paul emphatically declares.

Though the Holy Ghost, according to Sacred Scripture, is most prodigally shed abroad throughout the whole universe, how many are there, alas, who place obstacles to that divine Luminary and prevent its rays from penetrating their souls! Ignorance, prejudice, and the corruption of gross vices are as so many dense clouds which prevent the rays of that divine Light from illumining the soul. It is true that Faith is a free gift of God, and that God may and can, and often does, bestow that gift, even unasked, upon persons leading a life of sin. Thus, He enlightened Saul on the road to Damascus, and made him an apostle at the very time that he was breathing threats against the Christians. But, as a rule, the priceless gift of Faith must be asked of God, and the means of obtaining it must be employed by those who desire to possess it, one of those means being the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is not only the door to the other Sacraments, but it gives us a spiritual right to the Holy Ghost. It infuses into the heart of the recipient the gift of divine Faith, which is to the soul what sight is to the body; and it enables even a child, as reason dawns, to grasp the lofty teachings of the Church. Later on in the Christian life, the Holy Ghost is given to the children of God in the Sacrament of Confirmation, by which, in the language of St. Paul, we become the temples of the Holy Ghost, and should (as he tells us) glorify and bear God in our body. The work of the Holy Ghost in the individual soul is to form Jesus Christ in it. Hence, again says the Apostle of the Gentiles, “The Holy Ghost is laboring with unceasing groaning that Jesus Christ be formed in you.” And if, true to His guidance, the soul advances from perfection to perfection, becoming more and more enlightened, more and more inflamed with the love of God, it at last arrives at that sublime state to which Christ called all His followers when He enjoined upon them: “Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

According to St. Paul, there are three ways of opposing the Holy Ghost in His action on the soul:

The first is our resistance to His divine influence when we do not cooperate with His loving designs in the work of our sanctification. He is ever laboring with unceasing groaning (says the Apostle) to form Christ in us. He is urging us to more fervent and frequent prayer, to more manly self-denial, more frequent and profitable approach to the Sacraments, more earnest imitation of our Blessed Lord, who counsels us to renounce ourselves, and daily to take up our cross and follow Him.

It grieves this Blessed Spirit of God to behold us so careless and indifferent in the great work of our own sanctification. We are like a lazy farmer who, possessed of rich soil which if well cultivated would produce luscious and abundant fruit, fails to improve his opportunities. We also fail to cooperate with our gracious Lord in producing a golden harvest. We also fail to obey Him who tells us to lay up treasures in heaven, where the rust cannot destroy, nor moths consume, nor thieves break through and steal.

— The second way in which we oppose the Holy Ghost is when we grieve Him by deliberately committing venial sin. Venial sin does not kill the soul, but it often seriously wounds it. It defiles it, and, in a manner, paralyzes it by weakening its energies and leaving it faint and sickly. Just as neglect of a trifling malady often leads to the death of the body, so venial sin too often leads the soul to mortal sin.

Alas, for the careless Christian whose life abounds in many willful venial sins! By undue indulgence of the appetite, slothfulness in prayer and other religious duties; by slight fits of anger, or of impatience; and, what is far more serious, by frequenting dangerous company, and giving the eyes, the tongue and the mind liberties that are dangerous to modesty, how often do men and women seriously wound the soul, even though they do not actually cause her death!

— But the greatest of all evils occurs when the sinner utterly quenches the light of the Holy Ghost by willful mortal sin. “Know you not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost?” “He who defileth the temple of God,” says St. Paul, “him shall the Lord destroy.” It is true that although the sentence of death is passed upon deadly sin, through the infinite mercy of God, its execution is often deferred. Though the Holy Ghost is driven away from the soul by one mortal sin, and the temple of God is horribly deformed and devastated, like a beautiful structure charred and blackened by fire, yet, praise be to God! the Holy Ghost does not yet abandon the unworthy Christian. By many gentle and loving means He still strives to bring back the sinner to repentance. Even as the dove, driven from its little cote by the serpent which has entered and defiled its nest, hovers around, waiting for the venomous intruder’s departure, in order to return and cleanse its nest and again dwell in its cherished home, or as the poor Irish mother, driven from the loved cottage of her youth by the emissary of the landlord, does not abandon the home of her heart, but sits by the roadside with her children till the intruder has withdrawn, and then goes back to her dwelling, rekindling the fire upon her humble hearth and making bright again her little cottage, so the Holy Spirit does not completely abandon the soul when it falls into mortal sin, but mercifully endeavors to excite it to remorse. Sometimes He makes use of sickness, of loss of temporal goods or friends; sometimes, of the sudden death of a companion in sin. Or, it may be by a mission, a sermon, or a word of advice that the transgressor is induced to enter into himself, to forsake his sinful life, and return once more to his God.

Yes, it is the Holy Ghost who, acting thus upon the sinner’s soul, urges upon him this vital change. And when at length the unfortunate one yields to this Divine Spirit, immediately like a skillful architect, divine love and mercy begin to purify and sanctify the soul, to rebuild its beautiful temple, to adorn it, and make it once more His dwelling place, causing the angels in heaven to rejoice over the sinner doing penance.

Such is the mission and the work of the Holy Ghost. We should then labor earnestly to cooperate with Him in that blessed work of our sanctification:

— Let us be fervent in prayer for this is the will of God that we watch and pray without ceasing, lest we enter into temptation.

— Frequently, too, let us approach the Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist, for they are the great channels through which the Holy Ghost directly acts on our souls.

— Let us not grieve the Holy Spirit by exposing ourselves to sin or the occasions of sin, but faithfully correspond to His graces, and grate fully thank Him for the gift of Faith, which infinitely surpasses all the riches and treasure of this world.

(From the book of Fr. Charles-Hyacinth McKenna O.P.,  The Treasures of the Rosary, New York, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1917  (written 1835)