May 2017 - District Superior's Letter
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
All eyes are turned towards Fatima in these last days that separate us from the hundredth anniversary of May 13, 1917. What do we expect from Our Lady? What message will she give to us on this one hundredth anniversary of her visit? The three parts of the famous secret of Fatima from July 13, 1917 give us the answers: We urgently ask Our Lady for all the graces we need for the salvation of our own soul, for peace in the world and for peace in the Church. The Immaculate Heart of Mary alone can save us at these three levels of our faith.
Thus, the message of Fatima comes in great contrast with the celebrations by leading members of the Church for Luther’s 500th anniversary. Read the latest bi-annual letter of Bishop Fellay to Friends and Benefactors #87 on Luther and the consequences of his revolution. In it, Bishop Fellay shows first the disastrous consequences for the salvation of souls by replacing the supernatural act of faith in the truth revealed by God and proposed by the Church – “He who hears you hears Me, He who rejects you rejects Me” – by a private, personal judgment at the natural level. In simple language this means, “I decide by myself on my own authority what is true or not, and not the Church.” Bishop Fellay draws a terrible consequence of this real revolution:
“Private judgment, set up as a principle, not only cuts off access to the supernatural faith which is the way of salvation (“He that believeth not shall be condemned,” Mk 16:16), but also makes unity in the Truth impossible. He thus established in principle for Protestants the impossibility of eternal salvation and of unity in the Truth.”
By rejecting the authority of the pope, of the Church established by God, Luther also opened the door to social anarchy which is exactly what happened already during his lifetime in Germany. We must constantly teach it: all authority comes from God, and if one misuses that delegated authority as it unfortunately often happens, no amount of misused authority will ever suppressed its divine origin, just as no amount of lies will ever make lying an act of virtue. The lives of the Saints, especially of those who lived through civil unrests—the Roman, French or Chinese Revolutions for example—are practical applications of this doctrine: we respect those in authority over us even if we cannot obey some of their laws that would cause us to go against the higher laws of God. The virtue of obedience will always exist.
Thirdly, as Bishop Fellay rightly stated, private judgment destroys unity in the truth. Obviously, if I decide by myself what is truth, then I become like a pope, everyone becomes a pope, a guarantor of the truth. Thus follows the multiplicity of Protestants sects. Even Martin Luther saw the inescapable principle of fragmentation and disunity that lies at the heart of ‘sola scriptura’. St Francis de Sales gives a quote of Luther in which he complained bitterly about the doctrinal anarchy that was even then rampant among Protestants: “If the world lasts, it will be necessary, on account of the differing interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of faith, we should receive the [Catholic] councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge.” (in Catholic Controversies).
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is clearly the antidote to these three evils: to one’s eternal damnation, to social anarchy and to the triumph of the one true Church.
We can also affirm that it was for these same three goals that Archbishop Lefebvre spent all his energy during his long life. He was consumed by the desire to save souls; to bring them to the sources of life, i.e., to the doctrine and the sacraments of the Church. He was an ardent promoter, in all the positions he held from simple curate to Apostolic Delegate, of the social kingship of Christ, i.e., that Our Blessed Lord should reign in all creation, visible and invisible, in the families, in the cities and countries, in all aspects of politics. There could not exist any “autonomous social sphere” as Cardinal Ratzinger tried to persuade him to accept.
And thirdly, having held great responsibilities in the Church for many decades, and knowing perfectly well the laws of the Church in ordinary and extraordinary situations, when he was questioned in the late 1970’s by the Vatican authorities about the lawfulness of his actions, Archbishop Lefebvre could answer with confidence that what he was doing was perfectly Catholic, fully in accordance with these laws which were all ultimately for the salvation of souls. “If what we do is not Catholic, then there has never been a Catholic Church!” he even stated in a sermon in December 1984. This is how confident he was that he was truly acting according to Church laws. He knew that the only objection against his work was the refusal of the Council and of the New Mass. He knew it, and they knew that neither of these is binding.
It is in fidelity to this line of action of our founder that the Society of St Pius X has constantly claimed that its sacraments were not only valid but perfectly licit, and has repeatedly asked that Rome acknowledges it as well publicly for the good of souls. In fact, little by little this is being granted by Rome. It is a real tug-a-war but Tradition is slowly but surely regaining its legitimate rights in the Holy City. It is from that angle that one must look at the liberalization of the Traditional Mass in 2007, at the lifting of the “excommunication” in 2009, at the granting of ordinary jurisdiction for confession to the SSPX in 2015 and then indefinitely.
Another bit of ground in the process of being gained now concerns the ordinary jurisdiction granted to the marriages done in the SSPX. Do read the document published by Menzingen on April 11 about this important matter. It is a fact that many of our young people do not understand the crisis in the Church as well as their parents, and, as there are quite a number of marriages between an SSPX faithful and a non-SSPX, marriages have become very fragile these days, certainly more than ever. To receive ordinary jurisdiction for marriages, which some bishops have already directly given to us in the last weeks, will certainly protect the indefectibility of this great sacrament. That is the issue at stake at the present moment. Oremus!
Let us put all these intentions in the Immaculate Heart of Mary in this month dedicated to her.
News from the District
- Last April 17-22, 14 priests attended a retreat in Saint-Césaire preached by Fr. Albert O.P. on the teaching of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe on the Immaculata
- During his three week stay in Canada, Fr. Albert also preached various Parish Missions in Toronto, Saint Catharines, New Hamburg and Lévis.
- Fr. Stehlin is coming to Rocky Mountain House and Calgary, Winnipeg and Levis between May 20-23 to promote the Militia Immaculatae.
For the greater glory of God and of the Immaculata!
Fr. Daniel Couture