Sermon of Bishop Bernard Fellay on the Feast of Christ the King in Lourdes

Source: FSSPX News

 

 The New Rosary Crusade

We are gathered here on this magnificent Feast of Christ the King in order to honor, praise and thank, but also to hear and implore the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius XI, faced with the tribulations of the world, with this systematic rebellion of men against God, wanted to insist on the rights of God on earth; and this Feast of Christ the King, of our Lord Jesus Christ, image of the invisible God, true God and true man, affirms those rights of God. We see Jesus Christ affirming the rights of God, not only in heaven, not only at the end of time, but throughout all time, yesterday, today and tomorrow. In the Our Father, He asks us to pray: “May Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And we heard it in the Epistle for today: everything was created by Him, and for Him, and everything has in Him its consistency: individuals, societies, everything.

In spite of this affirmation, of this reminder, we see that the world turns a deaf ear because it does not want to listen. We see it already in the 19th century, we have seen it since the French Revolution, and we see that it continues. And when we look at these apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, whether at La Salette, at Lourdes or at Fatima, we have the impression that heaven said something like this: “They refuse to listen to the Son; perhaps they will listen to the Mother.” These apparitions are acts of mercy on the part of our good God and which remind us precisely of the rights of God. Our Lady leads us straight to our Lord, to God. And if we are here, it is first and foremost in order to honor Him, to say that we, at least, wish to pay attention to His message because heaven has deigned to speak to men by Mary. Of course, it is not a question of public Revelation which ended at the death of the Apostles, but it is still heaven which is speaking, and obviously always with the same message. We come to honor this Messenger from heaven who takes pleasure in confirming at Lourdes the dogma concerning her - that dogma of the Immaculate Conception defined four years earlier. We can sense heaven’s pleasure at this declaration on earth. We can sense the joy of our Lady when she says to little Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Let us unite ourselves to all those who praise our Lady in her Immaculate Conception. Let us put all of our heart, all of our affection, all of our will into making reparation for those miscreants, for those poor souls who find nothing better to do than to insult their Mother by so many outrages. Let us make reparation by the angelical salutation, by that chain of Ave Maria’s which is the rosary.

 

What our Lady is telling us here is very simple: “Prayer, penance, penance, penance.” One might think she was being a little sparing with her words, but what she has said suffices. She has given us the two remedies proportional to the situation in which we find ourselves. We are only on earth in order to reach heaven, in order to be saved. God is permitting us to live in a horribly troubled time, and the remedies are always the same and always simple: prayer and penance. What insistence on penance, three times the same word: “penance, penance, penance.” It is the exact echo of the words of our Lord Himself: “If you do not do penance, you will all perish.” It was true when He said it and it is true for all time.” Yet what has been happening for the last forty years is something truly astonishing: that word has grown silent! The world thinks only of pleasure, the world wants only an easy life. And we find nearly no one reminding us of the road to heaven: penance. It is the Cross, it is the path of our Lord; there is no other. We are saved by the Cross of Jesus. There is where we find the price of our redemption, in His precious Blood which flows at His death, and if we want to be saved we have to follow that path. It is the great teaching of the sacrifice of the Mass, of that extraordinary invitation from the Sovereign High Priest, that invitation to baptized souls to unite themselves to Him in His sacrifice. And not only for the time of a Mass but for the time of a life on earth.

Prayer as well. Our Lady shows us that prayer by her hands, which are holding a rosary, and at her feet we see roses. “Lourdes” in Arabic means “rose,” from the name of the lord of this castle who refused to surrender to Charlemagne in 778 but who, exhorted by the bishop of  Le Puy, agreed to surrender body and soul to the Queen of heaven. And he converted a short time later, taking the name of Lourdes (Lourdus): rose. We are here in the territory of the Blessed Virgin. It is undeniable that heaven wished to give to this prayer a very particular power as an antidote to the modern world, and to the modern spirit. For this chain binds us up in the mysteries of our Lord and unites us to the graces which He merited, strengthening us in the Christian spirit. It gives us the strength to live as Christians today, in this world. Let us therefore take seriously these two invitations, to penance and to the rosary.

 

The protection of our Lady upon the Society of Saint Pius X 

My very dear brothers, we are of course here to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of our Lady, but we are also here for another anniversary which we consider as intimately tied to our Lady, because we see in it her particular protection. I am referring to the 20th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations. And we dare to say that we see in this a kind of miracle. Yes, a miracle: that twenty years later we are still here, that we are still here without having changed our direction, in spite of an extremely difficult and delicate ordeal in which it is so easy to fall to right or to left. Humanly speaking, a false step is nearly inevitable. Now this constancy points to a very special protection which we dare attribute to our Lady. Another sign of this protection is in the fact that the four bishops consecrated twenty years ago are all here, not only very much alive, but united; united in the same combat, in spite of all the prophets of doom who predicted, now twenty years ago, that there would be all sorts of divisions. Nothing of the kind! They are all here, and it is a great grace from heaven for which we thank the Most Blessed Virgin. Certainly then, during these days, we wish to raise up toward our Lady a vast wave of gratitude for those consecrations, for all the protection which they were able to supply to the movement of Catholic Tradition. Obviously, we implore heaven, we implore the Blessed Virgin that she might maintain us in this line of fidelity to the faith,  and of fidelity to the Church.

Today, in the wake of these consecrations, we would like to launch another crusade, and a crusade of the rosary. We launched one two years ago. It was in order to obtain the first precondition, as we call it, to obtain from the Holy Father, by the intervention of our Lady, that the holy Mass, the Mass of all time might recover its rights in the Church. These rights have been reaffirmed by the Motu Proprio. Today even in Rome itself, there are voices who attribute this fact to the recitation of the rosary. Confident in Our Lady, we would like on this day to launch this same crusade again. We would like to appeal to your generosity, my very dear brothers, to ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to obtain the second precondition: the retraction of the decree of excommunication. For this reason we invite you this time to gather, from now to Christmas, a million rosaries which we might present with  insistence to the Sovereign Pontiff.

We are asking for this retraction for two reasons which are on two different levels because they are of unequal importance. The first reason has a certain importance, but compared to the second it is less grave. As you know, the argument of excommunication is very often used by, shall we say, the “progressives,” as an easy way of not entering into discussion, of not listening, of not looking objectively at the content of what we would like to bring to their understanding. In fact, these grave questions which we present to them are easily swept aside by the peremptory answer: “You are excommunicated.” The second reason, which is more serious, is that this excommunication did not so much excommunicate four people, or six people if we count Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer. In reality, our founder embodied an attitude, and we can say that this attitude, which is eminently Catholic, appeared in his attachment to the deposit of the faith, in his attachment to all that which our Lord gave to His Church and which has been passed down from generation to generation, in other words, in his attachment to Tradition. It is not a fossilized attachment, a dead fidelity; it is an attachment to gathering from the past the principles and the life lessons for living today, since Truth, since God, is outside of time. The faith does not change, the supernatural principles of the Church do not change. This excommunication had as a consequence that all those who, near or far, make some attempt to move toward an attachment to the Church’s past, are more or less treated as “Lefebvrists.” This attitude - absolutely Catholic and absolutely necessary to the very being of the Church and to her survival - is what was excommunicated. We therefore ask the Holy Father to lift the decree of excommunication – the Holy Father, who, by definition, by reason of his function, ought to will the good of the Church and therefore ought also to will that Catholic being which was targeted by the decree.

We have examples by the hundreds of this excommunication of Tradition. We see priests, seminarians… but above all priests who had some beginning of action in the direction of conserving the traditional spirit, and right away they received the shameful label. I remember a Monsignor in Rome, a Brazilian, who explained to me that one day, in the seminary, he had the silly idea of putting on a black shirt, and that was enough to get him labeled a “Lefebvrist”! One fine day he said to himself: “I really need to find out what that even means.” He ended up with us!

 

Our consecration to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary 

My very dear brothers, if we are asking once again for the retraction of this decree of excommunication, we insist on one point: it does not mean that after it is retracted everything will be over. On the contrary, this step resembles, if you will, a kind of initial clearing of the jungle. If you want to get through, if you want to establish a road or have a plane be able to land, you first have to level the ground, you have to make a clearing. It is a labor which is not yet essential either to the landing strip or to the road to come, but which is nonetheless very important and makes things easier. What is essential is the Catholic faith; we hope finally to get into the heart of the question, once the faith has been set free of those accessory things used precisely by the enemies of Tradition, like that label they stick on us. You see, it has only taken a few financial upsets in the last few weeks and everyone is in a panic: there is an economic crisis, there is a financial crisis! If the earth moves a little too much, the world is shaken, and everyone says there was an earthquake. But today the Church is turned upside down and they tell us everything is fine. No! We have to go to the heart of the matter. Obviously, that is what we are seeking. That is the grace which we are asking of the Blessed Virgin. Even if there are steps to get there.

We conclude with this thought, my very dear brothers: we are launching not only a rosary crusade, a prayer to Mary, but also, since we are living in indescribably terrible times and we see how heaven is insisting that we have a very special relationship with the Blessed Virgin, it seems to us that it is certainly the moment, on the occasion of this pilgrimage, to renew our consecration to the Most Blessed Virgin. In 1984 – a long time ago now – the entire Priestly Society of Saint Pius X was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And we attribute to this protection by our Lady the fact that we are here, the fact that this work continues to grow. It is not a question of personal self-congratulations but quite simply of observing the facts and thanking the good God and our good Mother.

This consecration has consequences; it is not a question of a simple act, performed one time. We must live by it. To consecrate means to give oneself. In this consecration, we say to the Virgin Mary: “Since we have given ourselves to you, our apostolate is yours, it is no longer ours.” The one in charge of this apostolate is our Lady. Our role is to follow her, to listen to her. To consecrate oneself also means working to imitate her virtues, her life, in all that we can imitate in her: her faith, her humility, her purity. Therefore, with all our heart, in all truth, let us renew this consecration; we will do it to proclaim that we desire her as our Mother, as our Sovereign. It is she who will lead us to our Lord; it is she who will protect us; it is she who will lead us to God. Amen!