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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.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX Superior General

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?

He is 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).

One and the Same Victim: Jesus Christ


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.

Calvary image from Missale Romanum


The sacraments 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 this Sacrifice.

The combat of faith

We are 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.


Archbishop Lefebvre ordaining a priest

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 combat.

Credidimus caritati

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.


The priest’s 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.

Padre Pio Elevation of Host

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.

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