The worse the crisis of the Church gets – particularly the crisis of the priesthood - the more providential appears the work of Archbishop Lefebvre. When one thinks that in 1959, the Quebec seminary (one of the last two seminaries in Quebec at present, the other being Montreal’s) had 212 seminarians, and is now reduced to about 20, with no entries for September 2014, we can only say: thank you, Archbishop Lefebvre for saving our seminaries!
St Thomas says that the priesthood was instituted “as a remedy for the whole Church” (Suppl. Q35, a1). It follows that without the sacrament of Holy Orders, without that remedy, the Church is bound to die.
In the story of the Hidden Christians of Japan, we find that they had kept, generation after generation, for 220 years, the key to distinguish a real priest from a Protestant minister or any other minister: the true priest must be Roman, Marian and pure. How many priests today do fulfill these three conditions of a Catholic priest?
Roman not only means being attached to Rome, recognizing the Pope, but it also means to maintain the Roman traditions, the Roman liturgy and language, the Roman faith and morals. As the apostle of Ireland rightly said: “Sicut Christiani, ita et Romani – Just as we are Christians, we are Romans!” A contemporary of St Patrick, St Vincent of Lerins described even further the qualities of this Roman faith: in order to be considered truly Catholic, a truth must have been believed “everywhere, always and by all Catholics – quod ubique, quod semper, et quod ab omnibus” (Commonitorium, ch. 2). Modernism hits at the very heart of this perennial Roman faith by making it constantly evolving with time, thus breaking the link with the three criteria of St Vincent of Lerins.
Secondly, a priest must be Marian. This is another Japanese pearl. Indeed, if the priest is another Christ, he ought to be also another Mary. Like the Blessed Mother, he begets Jesus into people’s soul, he does this by his preaching and by dispensing the grace of God through the sacraments. St Augustine expressed this beautifully when he said: "O wonderful dignity of the priests; in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate."
In his book Vatican II, the Unwritten Story, Professor Roberto de Matei explains at length and in a magisterial way why Our Lady was literally put aside during the Council: it was all in order to please the non-Catholics, especially the Protestants, in the name of ecumenism. There was supposed to be a full conciliar document on her, but she was reduced to become a simple appendix (of Lumen Gentium, ch. VIII), she who, as Fr. Berto (the private theologian of Archbishop Lefebvre) said, was rather the Prologue of the whole mystery of the Redemption! In the name of this false ecumenism, how many priests have stopped saying their daily rosary and stopped recommending it to their flock, how many have removed statues from their churches and never speak of their Immaculate Queen? The Hidden Christians of Nagasaki would not have accepted these priests!
Thirdly, as early as 1838, the freemasons said that by making the hearts of Catholics vicious and impure they would destroy Catholicism: “Make vicious hearts, and you will have no more Catholics!” (Mgr Delassus, La Conjuration Antichrétienne, vol II, p.383). Such statement applies even more for the destruction of priests. An unchaste priest is as much a contradiction and a scandal as an unjust judge, rightly says St Thomas (1a2ae, Q73, a.10).
I remember meeting in Saigon the old founder of a priestly society who explained to us the strategy of the communists to destroy the Catholic priesthood after taking over South Vietnam in 1975. It was a rather simple, wickedly simple strategy: they were sending young ladies to all the presbyteries in order to corrupt the priests. The old founder reported this to his bishop, urging him to act vigorously against this corruption campaign. Results? He was betrayed by his own bishop and did ten years of labor camp.
Let us pray for our priests, for all priests, young and old, for those who have remained faithful and for those who have not so that they will repent and return to their “first charity” (Apoc. 2:4), for those alive and those in Purgatory.
O Lord, grant us priests!
O Lord grant us holy priests!
O Lord grant us many holy priests!
Yours truly in the service of Jesus and Mary Immaculate.