A priest must be
a man of faith
Extracts of Bishop Fellay's sermon
We provide here
some extracts of Bishop Fellay’s sermon given on January 27th at St.
Nicholas du Chardonnet on the occasion of the priestly ordination of
Fr. Bertran Lundi. The full text is available at DICI.
The priest’s union with Christ,
Priest and Victim
“Agnoscite quod agitis, imitamini quod tractatis.” “Recognize,
know what you do, and imitate what you handle.”
What is a priest?
chosen from among men, it is true, but he is also chosen - not by
himself, not by men - but by God. God is the one who chooses him -
Sacred Scripture, in one of the letters of St. Paul, tells us this
(Heb 5:1). God is the one who chooses His priests. And He chooses
them so as to make them His ambassadors, ambassadors of God to
men, ambassadors of men to God. The term that comes to us from
Sacred Scripture is “mediator”. Mediator between men and
God (cf. Heb 9:15).
O priest, where
will you find this knowledge, where will you recognize what you are?
Well, chiefly in the Mass: if Our Lord wants you to be a priest, it is
first and foremost for the Sacrifice.
In order to
renew, to perpetuate the Sacrifice of Calvary. He chooses you so
as to make really present - in other words to re-present - His
Sacrifice. But the word “represent” is perhaps not yet strong
enough. Because the sacrifice is not just an image, is not just a
memorial. It is certainly a memorial, but it is not just that, it
is much more, because every time you open your mouth and carry out
this office of instrument, every time you say “This is My Body,”
it is Our Lord Himself who will take these words from you by force
and make them His own. He is there to pronounce them. He is there
to transmit this power, which is so enormous that it will
“realize”, that it will make real, what these words say. And then,
this host that you are holding in your hands, this bit of bread,
once the words are said, is Jesus, the Word of God. God Almighty,
the Creator, Savior and Redeemer, in your hands, by your mouth:
God who stoops, who obeys His priest.
are like an extension of the Mass, but the Mass is really where you
find what you are. You are no longer for yourself. You are for God and
for souls. You are for the Church, but above all you are for Jesus.
This is your all. And He calls you to a sacrifice. The Mass is a
sacrifice. Maybe we do not say it enough. Today they tell us over and
over again that the Mass is the gathering of the people of God, of the
community which commemorates the Last Supper - and that is a heretical
definition. Then the priest becomes the presider at this gathering.
The Mass is a meal, a celebration.... To say in this way that the Mass
is a meal is condemned by the Church. Condemned! You see how many
errors have spread concerning this reality. No, the Mass is a
sacrifice. It is the Sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. A sacrifice
identical to that Sacrifice. And you are associated with it. Your life
now finds its meaning and has no other meaning than in the Mass, in
The combat of faith
living in an age in which this faith is abused, attacked, slashed,
everywhere, outside the Church and inside as well. It will be one
of your duties, after the Mass, to impart this faith, to
communicate it to souls, so as to lift them above human realities
and to lead them toward the reality of God. And this faith will
also have to be defended.
This is our history,
the story of the Society,
and of our founder. And this history, by dear
brothers, continues. I would even say that, in comparison with this
sublime reality, talking about whether or not to reach an agreement
with Rome is something trivial. To defend the faith, to keep the
faith, to die in the faith, this is the essential thing! We get the
impression that the Roman authorities do not understand us, because
they have not understood that we are ready to lose everything in order
to keep this Catholic faith. We absolutely do not want to let this
faith go. Now unfortunately (and this is a fact that we can observe
every day), with the Council, through the Council, and in the Council,
some poisons were introduced that are harmful to the faith; they lead
souls into error and no longer defend them, no longer defend them in
their faith. We denounce this fact, and this is why they condemn us.
Even today, the condition that they want to impose on us in order to
recognize us with the title “Catholic” is to accept those very same
things that demolish the faith. But we cannot, and that is all, quite
simply. In no case do we agree to diminish what is absolutely
essential in order to go to Heaven: the faith, with all its
consequences. That is why this combat is necessary, an everyday
But it is not
just the combat of the faith. That is the essential thing, but it is
not enough. Why? Because today we have arrived, you might say, at an
age of universal combat: salvation is at stake. It is necessary to
have the faith, but it is also necessary to have charity, it is
necessary to have grace and to live in the state of grace.
place is essential for the world, in every age, but today still
more than ever. Padre Pio reportedly used to say that the world
could more easily do without the sun than without the priest. The
priest is much more important even than the sun. Imitare quod
tractas. Imitate what you handle. Faith is necessary, but it
is not enough.
A priest who has
faith - that is important. And if you have a faith that can move
mountains, that is even better, but that is not enough. Imitate
what you handle. And here too, it is again the Mass that tells you
that in this sublime commerce with God, in which you negotiate the
salvation of souls, you must pay with your person—I said that
correctly: pay with your person… He died for all, for all souls, and
He asks you to embrace that concern. This is the concern of the
priest, I would say, and there is no other: to save souls.