There are joys in the midst of this valley of tears! We rejoice at the spread of the Society’s apostolate which can be seen as a permanent miracle. We are saddened by the persecution of the Society of St. Josaphat and by the desecration of the Fatima Shrine. As long as Rome tolerates such things, they are distancing themselves from an accord with the Society. The Society thanks all of its benefactors and begs for prayers in these difficult times.
How happy we are to tell you from time to time about the joys of our apostolate! Each day that passes we are privileged to witness miracles of grace. Let us remember to thank Almighty God, and let us be full of gratitude for the graces afforded us by the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We dare say that the life of the SSPX is indeed a permanent miracle. It expresses the intervention of God in our small history, the intervention of Our Lady, of the holy angels, of this whole world that surrounds us, that wishes us well. Our heavenly friends, whom we see not and on whom, unhappily, we think so little, are so close, so ready to help us, so effective! They are indeed real, they are part of our lives and their sometimes tangible assistance compels us to accept the marvelous reality of the communion of saints. When we compare our own powers with the results of our efforts, we are indeed obliged to recognize that these results do not come from us.
A great many new buildings and chapels throughout the world, in the Philippines, in India, North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe are also signs of an impressive vitality of grace. Experience has taught us that even the opposition of the clergy, generally strongest in areas where we have become established fairly recently, serves the good cause. “Everything comes together for the good of those who serve God.”
We would also like to share some pains and concerns with you.
First of all, in the Ukraine.
These last months the priests whom we support in the Fraternity of St. Josaphat have been subjected to the furious attacks of their Bishop, Cardinal Husar. The cardinal took to the airwaves to make a grand declaration of excommunication against Father Wasil and his companions, on the grounds that he has associated himself with a schismatic movement…
This is the gravest censure in the canon law of the Eastern Church. It was issued without due process. Once Father Wasil appealed to Rome the Cardinal undertook to observe the legal formalities. The whole process was designed to fill the juridical void in order to justify a ready-made sentence. Nihil novi sub sole (there is nothing new under the sun).
The ecclesiastical authorities are also trying to take back the churches, including those built by Father Wasil. This is undoubtedly a harsh blow for them, and your prayers are asked to support them in this new struggle. Up to now they have had to defend their faith against a terrible enemy, atheistic communism, but now it is their own pastors who are attacking them. Up to now, the priests have resisted bravely with the support of the faithful. But each attack unsettles souls; some turn away in disgust and give up. A familiar pattern.
And from the side of Rome?
Let us begin with Fatima. Last year the construction of a new building for the use of different religions was announced. Even if the official publication of the shrine keeps silent about the nature of the project, public actions go even further. On May 5, a group of Hindus invaded the place of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin, naturally with all the official authorizations. They made this sacred place, so dear to Catholics, the forum for their idolatry. “It is a unique event, without precedent in the history of the shrine. The Hindu priest, or Sha Tri, recited at the altar the Shaniti Pa, the prayer for peace. The Hindus can be seen removing their sandals before approaching the balustrade of the sanctuary, while the priest pronounces the prayers at the altar in the sanctuary. The bishop and the rector of the shrine were themselves decked out in Hindu prayer shawls… a fine affair.” What a provocation against Christianity!
Now, are we to speak of reaching an accord?
So long as the Roman authorities tolerate such abominations or, worse still, support them, they are distancing themselves from any accord with Tradition. We shall never give way to such affronts perpetrated against Our Lady of Heaven, the Mother of God. One sometimes wonders whether not only the faith has been lost, but common sense as well. Deus non irridetur (God is not mocked). Such actions demand reparation. We are seriously thinking of inviting you to an act of solemn protest at Fatima next year.
Rome demands that the Society accept a “Personal Jurisdiction”
As concerns Rome more directly, Rome demands that we accept their proposition of a “personal jurisdiction.” The problem lies not in the juridical formulation, which seems acceptable to us in principle, although we do not know the concrete elements and implications of such a “juridical formula.” The problem remains as always on the level of doctrine, of the Christian spirit that does or does not inform (and that is the whole question) ambiguous texts and reforms that have been disastrous for the supernatural welfare of the faithful. We do indeed perceive more and more sympathy from certain bishops, also in Rome. It seems to us that we are moving forward, that Tradition is making progress in the Catholic world. But that is not yet sufficient. We recently made an official request that the decree of excommunication be withdrawn as a first concrete step on the part of Rome. That would change the climate and we could better see how things develop. One thing is certain: we do not want the situation in which the Fraternity of St. Peter and the majority of the Ecclesia Dei groups have been placed. They are constrained, and it is barely permitted them to say the Tridentine Mass. Most of the time they find themselves in truly odious situations. Cardinal Castrillón is perfectly right to claim for traditionalists a status better than that of second-class citizen. But is it not up to Rome first of all to change this state of affairs?
These are all so many intentions for prayer, dear benefactors. Be assured of our profound gratitude for all your sacrifices, so precious, so pleasing to God, and which help us greatly in our apostolate. May God reward you, may the Sacred Heart bless you, and may his most Holy Mother protect you and your families.
† Bernard Fellay
Feast of the Sacred Heart
June 18, 2004