Church & World


Letter from the Patriarch of Jerusalem

Patriarchatus Latinus Jerusalem

Jaffa Gate

P.O. Box 14152

Jerusalem 9114101

August 21, 2014

Civitas17 rue des Chasseurs

95100 Argenteuil


To the Directors of Civitas:

From Jerusalem, in my name and in the name of all the Christians of the Holy Land and the Middle East, I heartily thank you and encourage you for your undertaking and for the demonstration of support you have organized for this coming 21 September on behalf of the persecuted Christians in the East.

Our suffering is great; the tragedy that our brothers in Gaza are experiencing is unspeakable. In addition to the bombardments, the situation as regards public sanitation has now become dramatic due to the lack of water.

In this war-torn Middle East, a prey to fanaticism and violence, the innocent are the primary victims: children, Christians, and minorities. In Jordan, we have recently received about a thousand Christians driven out of Iraq. They have lost everything; some of them, their dearest possessions—wife, husband, children, relatives, in circumstances of the utmost barbarity. But in the midst of their profound distress, the flame of their faith—the faith for which they have accepted to lose everything—has not wavered. This flame is a sign for the whole world.

Together let us unite ourselves with the call of Pope Francis to pray, to pray unceasingly. Our prayer is never in vain. It is our duty to mobilize as you are doing and to unite our voices so that they can be heard and so that world leaders recognize the urgency of the situation and take action to save the Christians of the Middle East.

More than ever, we are in need of your support and your prayers.

Awaiting the joy of welcoming you to Jerusalem should you come to the Holy Land, be assured of my blessing and my heartfelt communion.

Fouad Twal

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

SSPX Fathers Laroche and Chauvin in Lebanon

July 2014 — During a time when, from Gaza to Mosul, the Christians of the East suffer persecution and flee from their own countries, the Society has been carrying on its apostolate in the Near East.

Every year for the last 25 years, Fr. Patrice Laroche has been traveling to Lebanon to visit our faithful throughout the country. For the last two years, Fr. Gregory Chauvin has been sent by the French district to organize camps for Lebanese children. The first camp was held at Mayfouk in 2012, with 16 Lebanese and 12 Iraqi children. That summer, Fr. Laroche was in the Land of Cedars from July 1-9, where he gave a retreat for youth and visited families.

This year, from July 13-17, Fr. Gregory Chauvin, accompanied by his sister Anne-Laure, was in Akkad, a region in northern Lebanon, to conduct activities for the children in the camps of Syrian refugees. (It needs to be realized that since the beginning of the war in Syria, some two million Syrians have taken refuge in Lebanon, which itself only has four million inhabitants.)

One of our faithful, a French woman married to a Lebanese, had recruited a group of kind souls, of both Lebanon and France, to relieve the misery of the camps and to bring a little joy into the lives of the Syrian children. Some French truck drivers accompanied by a Dominican friar of Chéméré-le-Roi were among the team of volunteers.

The presence of two priests gave our action an explicitly Catholic note in the eyes of the refugees, most of whom are Muslims. Our apostolate was more in depth among the Lebanese directors, and we had serious discussions about Tradition, the Council, the liturgy, and the crisis in the Church with some of them.

We touched the lives of children in three camps by our activities. In the Abu-Ali camp, inhabited by Bedouins, the children were allowed to run wild, and they were very difficult because of being left to their own devices (some of the planned activities had to be called off because we had been robbed of necessary supplies...). The camp at Mafraq-Homs was for families from Aleppo; the children were better behaved and took advantage of everything we brought them. The children could participate in crafts, pottery drawing, puppets, origami, singing, dance, juggling, and so on. Lastly, we visited a camp run by an NGO at Sahel-Minaret. An image with St. Charbel surrounded by children was made and widely distributed.

These few days spent in the midst of these poor, uprooted, and often unschooled children afforded the occasion to practise Christian charity and to see close up the physical and moral misery to be found in Lebanon. From this experience has grown the desire to repeat and increase our aid to the refugees, especially to the Christians. Plans for a camp for traditional Catholics in Lebanon and for the poor Christians for next summer are under way. The help and contributions of volunteers to bring it about would be most welcome.

Our Lady of Lebanon, St. Charbel, and St. Rafqa, pray for us!

For further information or to contribute, please write:
Abbé Gregoire Chauvet
École St-Jean-Bosco
Allée des Platanes
01240 Marlieux

Traditional Dominican Teaching Sisters of France Bid Adieux to Their Leaders

We recommend to your prayers the repose of the soul of Reverend Mother Anne-Marie Simoulin, the first prioress of St. Dominique du Cammazou, Fanjeaux, and the first superior general of the congregation of the Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus of Fanjeaux, piously deceased on Monday, June 16, 2014, in her 87th year of life and the 63rd year of her religious profession, fortified with the last rites of our holy Mother the Church. A requiem Mass with the body present was celebrated Wednesday, June 18, at Romagne. The funeral took place at Fanjeaux on Saturday, June 21, with interment following in the cemetery of the Congregation.

We recommend to your prayers the repose of the soul of Reverend Mother Marie-François Dupouy, the first prioress of the Dominican school of St-Pré of the Immaculate Heart, Brignoles, and first prioress general of the congregation of the Dominican Teaching Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Saint-Pré, piously deceased on Tuesday, June 17, in her 95th year of life and the 72d year of her religious profession, fortified with the last rites of our Holy Mother the Church. Her funeral was celebrated at Saint-Pré on Monday, June 23, with interment following in the local cemetery of Congregation.

(Source: Fideliter, Sept.-Oct. 2014, pp. 56-7)

Blessed Paul VI!

Oct. 18, 2014.—October 19, 2014, will go down in history as the day Giovanni Battista Montini was beatified by Pope Francis.

Unjust outcome

At the announcement of the beatification of the one who governed the Church during the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, some people were astonished, perhaps stirred, but very many, at the end of the day, will keep quiet. After all, what can be said against a beatification, since it is normally the culmination of a canonically regulated proceeding in which the virtues of the “servant of God” have been duly found to be heroic.

But there are also proceedings that result in an unjust outcome. No beatification can belie reality, and the memory of the “Paul VI years” will not vanish all at once. To justify our refusal of this beatification, let us then recall the stubborn facts that form the fabric of Montini’s life.

At the outset, one fixed principle should be stated: We have no intention, here or elsewhere, to judge the Pope’s soul; we shall merely recall a few examples, among thousands, apt to establish the following judgment: The actions of Paul VI were not those of a pope who ought to be set up as a model of Christian life.

We do not deny, moreover, that this pope evinced certain qualities a cut above the ordinary. Were that not so, how else could he have risen to the sovereign pontificate? It is not reasonable merely to offer in explanation that his ideas were in the air. His adherence to progressive ideas was not the only thing going for him. For, in his day, he was far from being the only one to be steeped in the [progressive] atmosphere. Cardinal Lercaro, the archbishop of Bologna, for example, was no less under its sway.

The biographers of Paul VI, be they his thurifers (Huber, Guitton, Macchi, etc.) or his critics (Yves Chiron), have not failed to enumerate the qualities of Giovanni Battista Montini. Industrious, organized, intelligent, a talented orator, he enthused the Italian students as their chaplain at Rome. Of modest and dignified bearing, respectful, loyal in friendship, he was capable of remarkable acts of generosity on various occasions. If one may not know much about the state of his interior life, he was so desirous of a consecrated life that he considered entering a monastery and, ordained priest, he often retired for short stays with Benedictines.

Nor shall we contest that Paul VI affirmed several times his desire to be at the service of truth and of the Catholic faith, for he wished that the consciousness he had of his duty to defend them both to be known. Exceptionally in an age of heresy, he held as certain the doctrine of satisfaction by substitution in the mystery of the Passion. He was known to praise the merits of Thomism, though without, alas, himself being imbued by the teachings of the Angelic Doctor. We remember his profession of faith in 1968 and the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which is to his honor.

Principal support of modern theologians

Yet it is in the domain of the Faith, and more broadly of doctrine, that a difficulty first becomes apparent. The innovations in theology, advanced by names like Rahner, Schillebeeckx, or Chenu, did not start with the Council; and G. B. Montini’s interest in the unfortunate theological effrontery also dates from well before Vatican II. While he was in the service of Pius XII in the Roman Curia, he was the principal support of the theologians “in trouble” with the Vatican and the Holy Office. He considered Blondel’s philosophy “valid”; he defended Congar, Lubac, Guitton, and Mazzolari several times against harsh judgments or threatened sanctions. When the books of Karl Adam were about to be denounced to the Index, Msgr. Montini, one of the Pope’s right-hand men, hid them in his own quarters, and later quietly circulated them. This is heroic virtue?

It was when G. B. Montini was archbishop of Milan that John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council. Between the first and second sessions, the sovereign pontiff succumbed to sickness. Elected was the man who took the name of Paul. He had put great hope in the Council; he confirmed its direction. Paul VI indisputably supported by his authority the seizure of power in Vatican II by the liberal wing of Cardinals Döpfner, Lercaro, Koenig, Liénart, Suenens, Alfrink, Frings, and Léger, to the detriment of the traditional wing represented by Cardinals Ottaviani, Siri, Agagianian, and Msgr. Carli, who had not forgotten the centuries-old heritage of which Pius XII, in his time, had shown himself to be the true depositary. Session after session, declaration after declaration, Paul VI, while exercising a certain moderation, supported “the revolution in tiara and cope” which unfolded before the bewildered eyes of the perceptive bishops. For the history books, Paul VI’s signature on disastrous documents like Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, Nostra Aetate, Unitatis Redintegratio will remain his own. Especially, Paul VI, who had been won over even before the Council to the principle of religious liberty, promulgated the declaration Dignitatis Humanae, which affirmed unambiguously what the predecessors of Paul VI had stigmatized as opposed to Catholic teaching. How can it be thought that the proclamation that false religions have a right to public worship and that the pressure subsequently put on the Catholic governments of the world to adopt secular constitutions are anyway indicative of virtue and holiness of life? Just think of the multitude of souls, swept along by the movement of secularization and the apostasy of the laws of nations, who lost the faith of their fathers. Doesn’t anybody bear some share of the responsibility?

If Paul VI so loved this Council, it was because the general approach of the episcopal assembly corresponded with the intimate aspirations of his spirit. The Council was a movement of churchmen toward the world. Now Paul VI loved even the modern world; he desired to immerse himself in it and feel with it. Interested in every human reality, he corrected a pessimistic temperament by resolute optimism, sustaining a benevolent vision of even modern thought in distant lands and cultures. He prized contemporary art to the point of decorating his Vatican apartment in the style!

Mankind center of his reflections

What he loved in the world was man. Mankind was at the center of his reflections, even if at times he denounced anthropocentrism. From compassion, he was especially interested in the poor, the worker, the lapsed Catholic, the marginalized. “We more than any,” he said, “have the cult of man!” In order to draw near to man it would be necessary, thought Paul VI, to repent of so many attitudes characteristic of the Church in the past likely to put off souls, such as condemnations (whence the suppression of the Index), or too exclusive dogmatic affirmations. He preferred suggestion to government, exhortation to sanction. His was a reign of dialogue.

To draw near to man meant first of all drawing closer to Protestants: Paul VI was the papal initiator of ecumenism. Even though he conceived it theoretically as a return to Catholicism, nonetheless contradictorily, he exalted the values of Protestants, and multiplied relations with Taizé. The scandal reached its height when he invited the Anglican “archbishop” of Canterbury to bless the crowd in his stead during an ecumenical assembly at St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, placing on his finger his pastoral ring. And we are asked to believe that saints do this kind of thing. What true blessed in heaven from the depths of the Beatific Vision would not start at the spectacle of such confusion? However, for Paul VI, our Catholic attitudes had to change. “The Church has entered into the movement of history which evolves and changes,” he explained. Such was the program: evolution, change, aggiornamento.

That is why, moreover, he proceeded with a liturgical reform that, in time, extended to every domain of prayer. The Mass, if one is to believe the foundational texts of this reform, was no longer a sacrifice, but a “synaxe.” Its rite, decried by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, “represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent.” But nothing availed; the electric-guitar Masses, Communion in the hand, the short-skirted girls reading the Epistle, the words of Consecration subject to the mood of the celebrant—all of that was given a free hand by the bishops. It would be unjust, certainly, to put all the responsibility for every local disorder on the man responsible for the Universal Church. Besides, the Pope sometimes deplored the fine liturgical mess of the Novus Ordo Missae. But what effective measures did he take to prevent it? And was he not in fact the first cause of the disorder? Paul VI is being set before us as an archetype of perfection. But is not virtue achieved in doing one’s duty, and is not the duty of the leader to encourage those who do good and to punish lawbreakers? Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was judged without being heard, chastised before being received, and Paul VI thought him fit for an insane asylum. But the priests who celebrated Mass with rice or who demonstrated at the sides of Communists were left undisturbed in their comfortable rectories.

And yet Paul VI did not love communism; he always warned against the perniciousness of Marxism. By what paradox, then, did he support a politics of good-will toward Communist countries (Ostpolitik), the fruits of which were so bitter for the Catholics in the concerned countries that they were penetrated by the feeling that they had been abandoned by Rome. In the same vein, Paul VI considered that one could be a Catholic and devote oneself to socialist ideals, contrary to the express words of Leo XIII. He was also quite hostile to fascism; his preference went to Christian Democracy.

Invasion of the spirit of the world

All of these stances soon gave rise to opposition to Montini within the Curia. Pius XII was acquainted with his strong points, but distrusted his taste for modernity. During the Council, Paul VI met with the opposition of certain bishops, who then foresaw the crisis the Church was going to traverse. They were not mistaken. The crisis was terrible and remains so. Paul VI recognized it: “The opening to the world was a veritable invasion of the Church by the spirit of the world.” That pushed him to discouragement, coloring the last years of his pontificate with a marked sadness. “We have been perhaps too weak and imprudent,” he owned one day.

The confession was his own; and I’d wager that had he been able to express an opinion, Paul VI would have dissuaded his successor from proclaiming him blessed. In this let us follow Paul VI’s lead. Let no animosity against his person tempt us; let only the acute awareness of the objectivity and permanence of Christian virtue move us. Let us not have anything against him, but everything for the right notion of what a blessed truly is. For if Paul VI is blessed, then it is virtuous for a pope to contradict his predecessors in fundamentals of doctrine; it is praiseworthy to abandon a Cardinal Mindszenty to the sad fate of persecution; it is not reprehensible to cover up frightful abuses in the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice. If Paul VI is blessed, injustice is a virtue; imprudence is a path to holiness; revolution, the fruit of the gospel.

(Translated from La Porte Latine, website of the French District of the SSPX.)