There are some days when you really feel the pain of living in a dry county and today is such a day. As you probably all know, the official news came yesterday morning, and unfortunately I did not have time yesterday to drive to another county in order to buy some bottles of Champagne, which would have allowed us to catholically celebrate this great event. But Saint Paul told us last week to rejoice with those who rejoice and we can share the joy of thousands of Catholics who are not deprived of sparkling wine.
Something is lacking in our earthly joy, but let nothing come to spoil our spiritual joy! By Wednesday January 21st 2009, the Congregation for Bishops issued a Decree that lifts the excommunication of Their Excellencies, Bishop Fellay, Bishop Tissier de Malleray, Bishop Williamson and Bishop de Galaretta. What a joy for all the faithful Catholics! What a gift for the Church! In a time of modernist heresy – the worst heresy ever seen in twenty centuries of Catholicism –and in a time of liturgical collapse, when so many souls are led astray on some pernicious paths that put them in the darkness instead of giving them the beautiful light of faith, it is a great grace that God gives to His Church.
I am not here to judge men and their intention. Nobody can do this. I am not here to tell who was right or who was wrong in 1988. I am not here to tell if the Decree of excommunication of 1988 was just or not and if the present Decree is simply an act of justice and of mercy. The situation generated by the crisis is confusing and it might be difficult to know with certitude what we have to do. Besides, each one reacts according to one’s particular situation and the events of one’s own life. Each one of us can say: I have done what I have done, but we can all wonder: what I would have done in another situation? Certainly, our own particular experience does not excuse us of searching for the objective truth, but also we must be prudent and humble when we search for the truth. The History of the Church shows us that it is not always so easy and simple. What would you have done in 1378? Who could tell with certitude who was the right Pope between Urban VI and Clement VII? Even the Saints did not agree together on this issue.
But there is one thing that we can learn from the History of the Church and there is one thing that we can learn from the present events. In spite of human and consequently fallible factors, Our Lord always rules His Church. The Pope is the visible head of the Church and he is a man, like you and me. Certainly he is above any other man on earth due to his position; certainly he is assisted by the Holy Ghost in his mission of supreme shepherd. Nevertheless he still is a man subjected to the contingencies of this world. The History of the Church shows us that a Pope can be a great and holy man. He also can be an indecisive man… or even a great sinner. Nevertheless, the Church of Christ still exists, still teaches the true and authentic faith. And what we said about the Pope is a fortiori truer for bishops, priests and faithful and for ourselves.
Bonum est sperare in Domino quam confidere in homine! It is good to confide in the Lord rather than to have confidence in man. (Ps 117). It is good! It is something good, a virtuous act. And it is something that does good to you. When you know that men are weak and fallible, when you finally understand that it is only God that you can totally and fully trust, it makes your life simpler because you cannot be deceived. It gives you a greater liberty, a true liberty of loving and serving God. The life of the Saints is just the proof of what I am telling now and the concrete and practical application of this verse: It is good to confide in the Lord rather than to have confidence in man!
So, dear Brethren, today, in this terrible crisis that we know, in a time of apostasy, it is still good, it is even better than ever to confide in the Lord. Look how He takes care of His Church! Look how He takes care of His faithful servants! Saint Paul, that we also celebrate on this day of his conversion tells that to them that love God all things work together unto good (Rm 8,28). He does not say that God takes away your cross if you love Him, but that things work together unto good. Thus, we must banish from our lives doubt, rancor, despair, cowardice and whatever and be filled with joy, hope and gratitude, especially today. We do not deny that we live in a difficult time today, but we also believe that if we love God, all things work together unto good to us and nothing can change this.
Yes today, our hearts are full of joy and of gratitude. Blessed be Our Lord Jesus Christ for this! But we also know that the crisis is not over and that we have to continue our fight. As I told you last year, the Motu Proprio was a first step. The present Decree is another and very important step. Now, we have to continue what we have done. We have to continue to be faithful to God, and to the Church and to her teaching. We have to continue to work for the restoration of an authentic Catholic liturgy and to keep our churches sacred sanctuaries for the glory of God. We have to continue to work for the salvations of souls that can be saved only in the Catholic Church. We have to continue to spread the love of God around us, but for that we have to be ourselves full of love. But, as you see, our goal is not different than the one of the Society of Saint Pius X. They have never been different, but for a historical reason, we have decided to use different ways for the achievement of this goal.
We have to continue the work of a restoration of a Catholic culture in our society. And that is possible only if we live our faith. For us, here at Cherokee Village, our project of a church would be a visible sign of our faith. Let us continue to focus on this project. We are not in charge of the whole Church. There are qualified persons, who have received an official mission from the Church for that. It is not our duty to say what the Pope should or should not do. It is not our duty to say what this Bishop should do or should not do. But it is our duty to fulfill our obligations according to our own state of life. Certainly we should have a concern for the whole Church, because we are members of the Church. But, as we said last week, we have a position in the Church and we have to keep it and to work according to what we have received from God. And if all the faithful would content themselves of doing their duties, it is the whole Church that would be more beautiful, more luminous and brighter. She would illuminate the world by the holiness of her members.
May Our Blessed mother help us continue our work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls! Let us rejoice with her on this historical day and with all her children! Deo gratias!