Sermon at Lille 1976
My Dear Brethren,
Before addressing a few words of exhortation to you, I should like first to dispel some misunderstandings. And to begin with, about this very gathering.
You can see from the simplicity of this ceremony that we made no preparations for a ceremony which would have gathered a crowd like the one in this hall. I thought I should be saying Holy Mass on the 29 August as it had been arranged, before a few hundreds of the faithful of the Lille region, as I have done often in France, Europe, and even America, with no fuss.
Yet all of a sudden this date, 29 August, through press, radio and television, has become a kind of demonstration, resembling, so they say, a challenge. Not at all: this demonstration is not a challenge. This demonstration is what you wanted, dear Catholic brethren, who have come from long distances. Why? To manifest your Catholic faith; to manifest your belief; to manifest your desire to pray and to sanctify yourselves as did your fathers in faith, as did generations and generations before you. That is the real object of this ceremony, during which we desire to pray, pray with all our heart, adore Our Lord Jesus Christ Who in a few moments will come down on this altar and will renew the sacrifice of the Cross which we so much need.
I should like also to dispel another misunderstanding. Here I beg your pardon, but I have to say it: it was not I who called myself head of the traditionalists. You know who did that not long ago in solemn and memorable circumstances in Rome. Mgr. Lefebvre was said to be the head of the traditionalists. I do not want to be head of the traditionalists, nor am I. Why? Because I also am a simple Catholic. A priest and a bishop, certainly; but in the very conditions in which you find yourselves, reacting in the same way to the destruction of the Church, to the destruction of our faith, to the ruins piling up before our eyes.
Having the same reaction, I thought it my duty to form priests, the true priests that the Church needs. I formed those priests in a "Saint Pius X Society," which was recognized by the Church. All I was doing was what all bishops have done for centuries and centuries. That is all I did—something I have been doing for thirty years of my priestly life. It was on that account that I was made a bishop, an Apostolic Delegate in Africa, a member of the central pre-conciliar commission, an assistant at the papal throne. What better proof could I have wanted that Rome considered my work profitable for the Church and for the good of souls? And now when I am doing the same thing, a work exactly like what I have been doing for thirty years, all of a sudden I am suspended 'a divinis', and perhaps I shall soon be excommunicated, separated from the Church, a renegade, or what have you! How can that be? Is what I have been doing for thirty years liable also to suspension a divinis?
I think, on the contrary, that if then I had been forming seminarians as they are being formed now in the new seminaries I should have been excommunicated. If then I had taught the catechism which is being taught in the schools I should have been called a heretic. And if I had said Mass as it is now said I should have been called suspect of heresy and out of the Church. It is beyond my understanding. It means something has changed in the Church; and it is about that that I wish to speak.
The union desired by these Liberal Catholics, a union between the Church and the Revolution and subversion is, for the Church, an adulterous union, adulterous. And that adulterous union can produce only bastards. And who are those bastards? They are our rites: the rite of Mass is a bastard rite, the sacraments are bastard sacraments—we no longer know if they are sacraments which give grace or which do not give grace. We no longer know if this Mass gives the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or if it does not give them. The priests coming out of the seminaries do not themselves know what they are. In Rome it was the Archbishop of Cincinnati who said: "Why are there no more vocations? Because the Church no longer knows what a priest is." How then can She still form priests if She does not know what a priest is? The priests coming out of the seminaries are bastard priests. They do not know what they are. They do not know that they were made to go up to the altar to offer the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to give Jesus Christ to souls, and to call souls to Jesus Christ. That is what a priest is. Our young men here know that very well. Their whole life is going to be consecrated to that, to love, adore, and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
The adulterous union of the Church with the Revolution is consolidated with dialogue. When the Church entered into dialogue it was to convert. Our Lord said: "Go, teach all nations, convert them." But He did not say to hold dialogue with them so as not to convert them, so as to try to put us on the same footing with them.
Error and truth are not compatible. We must see if we have charity towards others, as the Gospel says: he who has charity is one who serves others. But those who have charity should give Our Lord, they should give the riches they possess to others and not just converse with them and enter into dialogue on an equal footing. Truth and error are not on the same footing. That would be putting God and the Devil on the same footing, for the Devil is the father of lies, the father of error.
We must therefore be missionaries.
We must preach the Gospel, convert souls to Jesus Christ and not engage in dialogue with them in an effort to adopt their principles. That is what this bastard Mass and these bastard rites are doing to us, for we wanted dialogue with the Protestants and the Protestants said to us: "We will not have your Mass; we will not have it because it contains things incompatible with our Protestant faith. So change the Mass and we shall be able to pray with you. We can have intercommunion. We can receive your sacraments. You can come to our churches and we can come to yours; then it will be all finished and we shall have unity." We shall have unity in confusion, in bastardy. That we do not want. The Church has never wanted it. We love the Protestants; we want to convert them. But it is not loving them to let them think they have the same religion as the Catholic religion.
There will be no peace on this earth except in the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The nations are at war—every day we have page after page of the newspapers about it, we have it on radio and television. Now because of a change of Prime Minister they are asking what can be done to improve the economic situation, what will strengthen the currency, what will bring prosperity to industry, and so on. All the papers in the world are full of it. But even from an economic point of view Our Lord Jesus Christ must reign, because the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the reign of the principles of love, indeed of the commandments of God which give society its balance, which make justice and peace reign in society. It is only when society has order, justice, and peace that the economy can prevail and revive. That is easily seen. Take the Argentine Republic as an example. What state was it in just two or three months ago? Complete anarchy, brigands killing right and left, industries totally ruined, factory owners seized and held to ransom, and so on. An incredible revolution, and that in a country so beautiful, so balanced, and so congenial as the Argentine Republic, a Republic which could be extraordinarily prosperous and enormously wealthy. Now there is a government of principle, with authority, which brings back order into life and stops the brigands murdering; and lo and behold! the economy is reviving, workers have employment, and they can return to their homes knowing that no one is going to knock them on the head because they will not strike when they do not wish to strike. That is the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ that we want; and we profess our faith, saying that Our Lord Jesus Christ is God.
I have just been talking to you about principles, I might say political principles, which one may have, the political principles of the Church. She has principles, political principles, principles for society, for She considers that society is created by God, like the family. The family has its laws: there are father, mother, and child; and each has a law and a position in the family. Similarly in civil society. The Church considers that it is a creature of God, and that this creature of God also has its laws so that it can develop normally and give all its members the fullest possibility for their own development. Of course we want governments to observe these laws. I took that example, but I might have taken another, for, as you know, I do not write my speeches—a pity, perhaps —but I do not think about them well in advance. So, trying to give an example of Christian order, of the notion people have of Christian order which brings things back to peace and justice, with the hierarchy which is necessary in a society, I quoted this example because it is recent and known to everybody, and also because the situation was really frightful, the Argentine being in a state of anarchy, with assassinations and abductions—a situation on the brink of the abyss, on the verge of total anarchy..............
Sermon at Lille November 1976
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