December 2011 - Superior General's Letter #79
The basis for the current problem in the Church can be summarized as a loss of the faith in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This loss is manifested in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality. That is why the Society speaks so often about the Kingship of Christ for it is the summary of our recognition of His Divinity.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
In a few days we will celebrate the happy coming of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The holy liturgy of Advent and the Christmas season is filled with faith in the divinity of Our Lord. Citing above all the Old Testament passages where His coming is foretold, it imbues our minds and hearts with the infinite grandeur of the prerogatives and the rights of the newborn Child.
He who from all eternity is born of a Father without a mother, is born in time of a Mother without a father! (Profession of faith of the 11th Council of Toledo)
Receiving His human nature from the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, whose Virginity He preserves, He thereby proves that He has lost nothing of His Divinity. “In the burning bush that Moses saw and that was not consumed, we recognize your praiseworthy Virginity that was preserved.” (Antiphon at Lauds, January 1). The Church is pleased to welcome the Savior Jesus, true God and true man, honoring Him with the title of King.
The King of peace, Rex pacificus. Here we would like to elaborate somewhat on this truth, which is so to speak at the heart of the crisis that is shaking the Church and affects the relations of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Holy See.
Loss of faith in the divinity of Our Lord
Indeed, it seems to us that the basis for the current problem can be summed up as a loss of faith in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! Of course many people protest that they believe that Jesus is God, but very few are ready to draw the practical consequences of that truth which will manifest itself in the sight of the whole world at the end of time. At that moment, He will finally allow his glory to shine forth in all its perfection. The extent of His powers over every creature will be such that all human beings—pagans, Christians, atheists, infidels, bandits and believers—all will be prostrate before Him, for at the mention of His Name every knee shall bend on earth as in heaven (cf. Phil 2:10).
For the short space of His earthly life, during which He was pleased to be among us, He partially hid His sovereignty. But that was only the time of testing, the time to accomplish His redemptive mission: “He died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3).
But during that time when He hid His omnipotence from our eyes, He lost none of it. “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18) is a statement to be taken literally; He is the one who created all things, for whom all was created, without whom was created nothing that was made (cf. Jn 1:3).
The practical rejection of the divinity of Our Lord is often manifested in human history by the rejection of His Kingship; this was already the title and reason for His death sentence: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (Jn 19:19).
And very often in history the rejection of God is manifested in the refusal to submit to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Church adapts to human society
It was not until the mid-twentieth century that mankind witnessed that unbelievable event that let us see a Council which, supposedly in the name of adapting to the concrete situation of human society, which was thoroughly decadent, changed the perennial proclamation: “For He must reign” (1 Cor 15:25). People claim that this way of acting would be in harmony with the Gospels, whereas it is quite the contrary.
The sophists of liberalism have sent out the word that the State, human society, which is also a creature of God, ought to treat the one true religion on a par with all the false religions, granting equally to each the right to exist, to develop without restrictions and to conduct its worship.
It was claimed that this was in opposition to the abuses of the totalitarian State which unjustly crushes human beings and oppresses the conscience of each individual. The Freemasons themselves expressed their joy upon hearing these theses, which are their own, resound beneath the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica (cf. Yves Marsaudon, L’oecuménisme vu par un franc-maçon de tradition, 1964).
Tolerance versus religious liberty
Quite obviously, there is an element of truth in the evil that is denounced. But the remedy is the one that the Church has always pointed out: tolerance. The right to religious liberty, as proclaimed at Vatican II, is something else. That is one of the points over which we come to grief with the Holy See.
This religious liberty, in placing what is true and what is false on equal footing, deliberately dispenses the State and human society from their duties to honor and to serve God, their Creator. It opens the door to all sorts of license in religious matters. It is as though, within the Church, they had renounced the prerogative of being the unique path of salvation for all mankind. Those who still believe this no longer say it. Many even lead you to think the contrary. This concession to today’s world is made at the expense of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ecumenism no longer wants to make converts
Another consequence, which follows directly from what has just been said, can be seen in the practice of ecumenism. On pretence of being able to be closer to our “separated brethren”, Catholics not longer proclaim these truths, which are nonetheless salvific, because they are difficult for them to hear. Catholics no longer even deliberately seek to convert them. Ecumenism no longer wants to make converts. This word has been banished; it is still tolerated, but in the name of religious liberty! Where, then, is the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ? Where has the pride of Catholics gone? And their leaders are the ones who are making them faint-hearted! As everyone could observe recently in France, when they should have condemned some blasphemous dramas. If similar offenses had been committed against the Moslems, the country would have been set on fire and drenched in blood! The Christians today have become so soft that they allow anything to happen! People are attacking the honor, not of a worldly king, but of the King of kings, the Lord of Lords, our Savior from whom we have received everything!
Quite obviously we have at heart the salvation of all those souls that are so dear to the Heart of Our Lord and their return to the fold, since He redeemed them at the price of His life! But the current way of doing things no longer has anything in common with the concern for the unity of the Church in past centuries. The whole world is supposed to be good and, consequently, the prospect that some of them could be eternally damned causes the wise of this world to inveigh against the scandal. They preach that hell is empty, or nearly so. The teaching of the Church is entirely different….
Democracy imported into the Church
A third stumbling block is also connected with the diminishment of authority.
Our Lord is the Head of the Church. But since He willed that His Church should be visible, after His ascension into heaven, He gave her a visible head, who is His Vicar on earth, Peter and his successors... To him alone did Our Lord give the power to feed the sheep and the lambs, he alone has full, sovereign, and immediate authority over each and every member of the Church. That is why the Church has always proclaimed herself to be a monarchy, governed by one man. Certainly, the human character of government makes it quite understandable to seek counsel and the advice of wise persons, but a form of democracy imported into the Church by collegiality and by the parliamentary parody of bishops’ conferences allows all sorts of abuses and subjects to group pressure the decrees of Divine Law that declare that each diocese has only one head, the bishop of the locality.
Authority today is seriously shaken, not only outside, through the litigation of secular leaders who claim a share in government, but also within the Church, through the addition of a number of councils and commissions which, in today’s atmosphere, prevent the just exercise of the authority delegated by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Authority of Jesus Christ is sacrificed
Isn’t it startling to note, with each of these stumbling blocks, that we find basically the same problem? In order to please the world, or at least in order to adapt to it and get along with it, they sacrificed in one way or another the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ over believing Christians, over all the human beings for whom He shed His Blood, over all the nations of which they are members.
This is what is doing such harm to the Church. In order to overcome this crisis, it is necessary to “re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10). Everywhere and in all things to give Him first place, to Him who wants to be all in all. As long as people are unwilling to leave this liberal atmosphere that is poisoning the Church, she will continue to waste away.
Recognition of Christ's Divinity
It is because of this painful reality that our relations with Rome are difficult.
This is why in the Society we speak so often about the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is the summary, in practice, of our recognition of His Divinity. To put it purely and simply: He has all rights over us.
It is to Him that all human beings, pagans or Catholics, young or old, rich or poor, powerful or weak, all, absolutely all will give an account of their life here below, to Him, their sovereign Judge and their God from whom they received everything. Let us hope that these lines show how relevant the doctrine of the Kingship of Our Lord is, that the battle for this Kingship of Our Lord is not out-of-date but on the contrary very necessary. Today it is an obligation if we are to survive.
May Our Lady, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, deign to hear our prayers for the glory of her Son. May she protect us, may she guard our little Society in the midst of so many perils, and may she be our guide, our advocate, our victory over ourselves and our faint-heartedness. May she be our hope, while awaiting her triumph for which we pray constantly, so that she may be our joy here below and for eternity.
Nos cum Prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria. [May the Virgin Mary bless us with her dear Child.]
† Bernard Fellay
On the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle
December 21, 2011