Fr. Phillipe Francois (SSPX, France)
[That which follows is a surprisingly good Google Translation of a transcription of Fr. Phillipe Francois’ Easter Sunday sermon, in which he directly contradict’s Bishop Fellay’s August/2016 Australian conference contention that the prelature is not a trap, and exhorts Menzingen to return to the prudence of Archbishop Lefebvre regarding relations with Rome.
It also evinces that not all SSPX clergy have mush between their ears, and quivering goose flesh in their loins. Not all have “succumbed to the siren song of legality” (as Dom Lorenco Fleischmann once put it).
It probably also evinces why internal resistance is always temporary: Menzingen is not likely to remain idle while “rebellion” (i.e., fidelity to Archbishop Lefebvre) is fomented. If Fr. Francois gave a sermon like this, it presumes he foresaw the danger, and was willing to let the chips fall where they may.
How can we do anything but commend and encourage him?
We propose you the transcription of the sermon delivered by Abbé Philippe François on the feast of Easter 2017, April 16, at the Monastery of Trévoux. The Abbot is the chaplain of the Little Sisters of St. Francis.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So be it.
My reverend sisters,
My dear brothers,
Our Lord is risen. He was resurrected as he said: “Resurrexit sicut dixit”. And we will sing to the Creed just now: “And resurrexit tertia die secundum scripturas – He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Saint John tells us in his first epistle: “This is the victory that has conquered the world, our faith” (John 5: 4). For if Christ is not risen as he predicted, our faith is vain; But he rose again on the third day. Only God is the master of life and death. He is risen, therefore He is God. And this is the proof of the divinity of our holy religion. It is the mystery of this Easter day, it is the joy of the alleluia. It must be the grace of Easter. What particular grace does it bring to our souls, as every feast? Well ! Is to strengthen our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen our faith in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen our faith in the social kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is true God and true Man. Because he is true Man, he could suffer and die. Because it is true God, he resumed his life offered to snatch us from the eternal hell. Therefore, Easter strengthens our faith in Our Lord, true King. And if our faith in Our Lord is fortified, thereby also strengthens our faith in His unique and beloved Bride, the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
And this is very necessary in the time of trial that we live.
A fortnight ago, as you learned, Rome gave certain conditions to the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX) to make marriages. ” Good news ! “Said my cobbler,” we are approaching the exit of the tunnel. In reality, this jurisdiction is already given to us by the Church in the principles of law which apply in times of crisis, in the state of necessity in which we find ourselves. For nearly fifty years, marriages, which are made in the priories of the SSPX and in the Tradition, are valid. But if one accepts the decision of Rome, one must accept the new code of canon law and the conciliar tribunals that apply this new code. This new code destroys marriage. It changes the definition of marriage. This sacrament no longer has for the first purpose the procreation and the catholic education of the children, but it puts in the first end the good understanding of the spouses and their mutual support. And this definition, you see, has led to the declaration of tens of thousands of marriages for forty years, because, as the spouses no longer agreed, the conciliar ecclesiastical judges said that there had been no of marriage. And these declarations of invalidity of marriages, validly concluded and declared null, have been further accelerated by the procedure which the Pope himself established a year and a half ago and which facilitate them more .
This was a fortnight ago; And then nearly two years ago, it was the powers of confessing that were granted to the priests of the Fraternity, as if they had not yet had them. Now these powers of confessing validly, the Church gives them to your priests in crisis, because canon law provides in the exceptional circumstances that we live, the jurisdiction of substitution. Monseigneur Lefebvre often reminded us of one of the great principles of the Code of Canon Law of St. Pius X: “the salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church.”
These two events and others show us that a process of canonical regularization has been under way since Benedict XVI and with Pope Francis vis-à-vis the SSPX, but also of the whole family of Tradition.
This canonical regularization process currently under way can be compared to the process of igniting a green wood log. When a log of green wood is thrown on the flame, it is incapable of catching fire, for there is an obstacle: it is the sap. Then the flame begins to lick the log to warm it and sap the sap. When the latter is out, the log ignites. Similarly, in our case, there would be an obstacle to canonical status, it is the reciprocal mistrust between the conciliar world and ourselves. The gestures of “benevolence” on the part of the pope have the role of bringing down this obstacle. These gestures do not formally imply a canonical dependence on the Roman authorities.[*] The obstacle of mistrust once it has fallen, the greater will not prevent the granting of the definitive status, which is the status of the personal prelature, which has been discussed for six years between the superiors of the SSPX and the Holy See. There would then be the granting of this personal prelature, this time with effective dependence of the Holy See. In particular, the bishop, superior of the personal prelature, will be appointed by the Pope and may therefore also be dismissed by the Supreme Pontiff.
Then the question arises: can we enter into such a canonical structure?
To answer this question, my dear brothers, we must ask ourselves whether the situation in Rome has changed to such an extent that today we could envisage a canonical solution, something that we consider impossible today. Alas! We have to admit that nothing essential has changed. The acts of the Pope are increasingly serious. The accumulation of scandals during the four years of his pontificate makes us think that with him modernism became flesh. The reaction of some conservative cardinals or prelates, if it is courageous and deserves to be hailed, this reaction does not call into question the principles of the crisis; On the contrary, we always cling to the Second Vatican Council, well interpreted so-called by Pope Benedict XVI. The attitude of the Holy See to what is traditional is not benevolent, far from it. The experience of the Franciscans of the Immaculate reminds us of this, as well as the treatment of Cardinal Burke and the other cardinals who opposed the synodal declaration on the family “Amoris laetitia” . Finally, Rome’s demands on us are basically always the same. It is necessary, even if asked with less insistence, to accept the council with its religious freedom, ecumenism and collegiality.
So what are precisely the foundations of our previous refusals of an agreement with Rome? More precisely, can we accept an agreement with a neo-modernist Rome? Such acceptance would lead us into conciliar pluralism. It would silence our attacks on modern errors and put our faith in a near danger. Consequently, the canonical solution can only be envisaged with a doctrinally converted Rome, which will have proved its conversion by working for the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ and by fighting against the opponents of this reign.
By placing ourselves in the hands of the Roman authorities, we would jeopardize our particular good, no less than the common good of the Church.
Our particular good first: for we are responsible for our soul and therefore for our faith. Now, without faith, one can not be saved (Heb. 11: 6) and no one can discharge himself from this responsibility over others.
Second, we would jeopardize the common good of the Church. Indeed, we are not masters of faith in the sense that we can not change it at our will. Faith is the good of the Church, for it is by faith that she lives by the life of her divine Spouse. Faith is a common good not only because it is common to all Catholics, but also because it is necessary that everyone should cooperate, though not to the same extent for all, in order to preserve it. Confirmation makes you, my dear brothers, soldiers of Christ. Every Christian must be ready to expose himself to defend the faith. And the sacerdotal character, joined to the mission of the Church, gives priests the sacred duty of preaching it and defending it publicly by fighting error. We are in the militant Church, which is attacked on all sides by error. No longer publicly raising his voice against it is becoming his accomplice. And this is what we live in Tradition, especially since 2011. In 2011 the abominable scandal of Assisi was renewed and the authorities of the Fraternity, unfortunately, we deplore, have fallen silent. In 2015 there was the unthinkable canonization of John Paul II and the authorities of the Fraternity were silent.
So it is impossible today for us to put ourselves through a canonical solution in the hands of the neo-modernist authorities because of their neo-modernism. This is the real obstacle to our recognition by these authorities.
In so doing, mark it well, my dear brothers, far from calling into question the authority of the Pope, we are convinced that he will render him the first service, that of truth. By our prayers we beseech the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain the grace of doctrinal conversion from the Sovereign Pontiff so that he may “confirm his brethren in faith” (Luke 22:32). For we are Roman Catholics, we are Roman Catholics unwaveringly attached to the See of Peter, to the infallible teaching of all the successors of Peter until the Second Vatican Council. We are of eternal Rome, which is the irreconcilable enemy of neo-Protestant and neo-modernist Rome. There is no peace with the conciliar Church.
And we pray every day for the superiors of the SSPX so that they do not fall into the trap that is tended to our dear Brotherhood. Let them regain the prudence, the intrepidity, and the firmness of Monseigneur Lefebvre in his struggle for Christ the King!
So we can not – not possumus – enter into a canonical structure subjecting ourselves to a modernist authority.
We say this because it is our duty. What do you mean ?
It is our duty first of all towards our Lord and His Holy Church. We have no right to expose ourselves to making peace with those who betray them.
It is our duty then for ourselves, because we have our soul to save and can not be saved without integrity.
Finally, it is our duty to the faithful to use our ministry. We have no right to lead them slowly to the poisonous pastures of Vatican II.
My dear sisters, dear brothers, in the current turmoil and confusion, we must remain faithful to and adhere to authentic Catholic principles. And so that they may be the light that enlightens us and guides our steps, we must draw the practical consequences and apply them rigorously in our everyday life and in our daily attitudes. Coherence and non-contradiction are the logical consequence of full and complete adherence to the Truth, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Cardinal Pius said, charity, which is the bond of perfection, must be dictated and regulated by truth, and it is in this spirit of charity that we must act.
Then, on this Easter Sunday, the present hour is the hour of the beautiful virtue of hope, for we see, perhaps with more lucidity, the inadequacy of human means. But Our Lord today comes out of the tomb, as yesterday, and with him his Church!
May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Holy Hope, who alone on Easter morning have kept hope, may the Holy Virgin Mary also maintain in our hearts the divine hope, Holy Hope, 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 Spirit. So be it.
[Transcription of Christian LASSALE for MPI]
[*] Be careful with this sentence. The pastoral guidelines promulgated by Cardinal Muller (with the approval and permission of Pope Francis) most certainly do presume a canonical dependence of the SSPX upon the conciliar authorities, which consider as a norm the delegation of faculties by the local bishop to a “fully regular” priest to witness marriages in SSPX chapels “insofar as is possible.”