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Bishop Fellay's priestly ordination sermon
Econe, June 24, 1996

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Your Excellency, dear confreres in the priesthood, my dear seminarians, sisters and faithful, 

You have certainly noticed by yourselves that we have the joy, at this ceremony of ordinations, to have a bishop among us, His Excellency Bishop Salvatore Lazo, who has not hesitated to come from the Philippines to give witness of his support of this work of restoration of the Catholic priesthood.

Archbishop Lefebvre was right

My dear brothers, twenty years ago and at this place, Archbishop Lefebvre decided to disregard the injunctions coming from Rome. Rome demanded - or rather forbade - of Archbishop Lefebvre with a menace of sanctions, not to ordain any more priests. Had Archbishop Lefebvre been right? Now twenty years later, if we cast a surveying look on the past as well as on the present, would he still be right to do ordinations and to continue this work? The principles on which he based his actions, are they still applicable today? At the time, he showed in his sermon that the stumbling block was the Mass. Rome had told him that "If only you celebrate the new Mass, all will be fine with you". Why did Archbishop Lefebvre refuse the new Mass? Because of itís spirit, because of itís goal which is which is ecumenism. It is true that ecumenism is not our only stumbling block with Rome, but today we would like to dwell a little more on this ecumenism and show where (this error) has led Rome and the faithful.

Ecumenism comes from Protestantism and has Protestant principles for itís basis. It is a movement which pretends to make a union or a certain unity among different Protestant denominations, but it respects the first principle of Protestantism which is free interpretation of the Scriptures. It presupposes that whoever reads Scriptures is thereby directly illumined by the Holy Ghost. Hence anyone can thereby directly attain to the Truth, and is obliged to say his own Truth, for one may observe that there are not two persons who interpret in the same manner. As an immediate consequence of this free interpretation there is a second principle by which the absolute Truth in matters of religion is non existent, at least not for men who attain to that truth. Hence, Truth is made relative and ecumenism attempts to establish a certain union by treating doctrine as a mere matter of opinion. The exclusiveness and uniqueness of the Truth is being rejected. A union outside of the Faith is then realized. For this reason the Catholic Church has rejected from the start ecumenism, because it profoundly contradicts the principles of the Church which is the Faith. This had been so until the Council. At the Council, they wanted to assimilate this ecumenism. What are the results? The first is indifferentism, meaning the doctrine according to which all religions and denominations are of equal value. In other words, all religions are a means to attain salvation, leading to Heaven, and are more or less good. This is against the Faith of the Church which says that "outside the Church, no salvation" Against the words of Christ Our Lord Himself, "Who believes and is baptized, shall be saved, who does not believe shall be condemned".

The enemy is ecumenism

These words are clear. Ask anyone who still goes to church these days. We are absolutely certain that the words which we just now pronounced would scandalize them very much. And probably that if there are any journalists that happen to be present here, we are bound to read some of their pet slogans tomorrow in the newspapers. They will reproach our lack of charity, our hardness and who knows what else. And yet, this is what the Church has always taught from the very beginning, this is the foundation of her mission, of the sending of the Apostles and priests. There is no other name revealed from Heaven for our salvation but the name of Christ Our Lord. Our Lord has entrusted all the merits of His Passion, as well as His Mission of Redemption, to a Church, to the one Church which He Himself has founded "built on this rock, on this stone", which is the papacy. It is the sign, source and even efficient cause of our visible unity, which is of course dependent on our invisible Head and first principle of the unity of the Church, Our Lord Himself. The Church of course wants this unity, but only by the means indicated by Our Lord Himself, through a return to the sheepfold, or conversion, entering into the one sheepfold, the one and only supernatural Church which possesses and has received the means to save. Who still believes in this? Who speaks of conversion? Indifferentism is an attack on the Faith and destroys it because indifferentism is a denial of the dogma according to which man can not be saved outside the Catholic Faith and outside the Catholic Church. If some people still have not understood the gravity of this ecumenism, let us examine for a moment some of itís other bitter fruits.

Let us consider the Orthodox Christians, the ones who are closest to the Catholic Church, the ones we should certainly give preference to win back for the Church. What does ecumenism have to do with these? How does the Catholic Church, in the name of ecumenism, deal with the Orthodox? Firstly, they have made an agreement with the Patriarchs of Moscow, and an explicit agreement with the other Orthodox churches based upon the declaration of Balaman, to try not to convert the Orthodox anymore. What is worse, it hinders the return of those Orthodox who do want to convert themselves and who have recognized that the Catholic Church is the only true one, who knock at her doors and demand entrance! We know of several such instances and of persons whom we have met ourselves, not only lay people, but also priests, prelates, and Orthodox Bishops who had been refused entrance into the Catholic Church!

Exclusion

Even worse:  In 1989, a bishop in the Ukraine, who had been in hiding and taking care of the See of Lwolv, and who was therefore a Catholic who had suffered persecution to remain a Catholic, received many Orthodox faithful into the Church. In those days with the apparent falling apart of Communism, the state released itís tight control on religion, people would by the droves go for religion and among others many Orthodox wanted to convert and did in fact convert. Whole parishes at once would quit the Orthodox church or simply returned to Catholicism. This bishop then, whose name is His Excellency Vladimir Sterniouk, received into the Church faithful, parishes and priests and even two bishops of the Patriarchate of Moscow. The Patriarchate of Moscow was mad about this and contacted Rome. Rome answered that since only the pope can receive Orthodox bishops into the Church, and since the pope has not received any requests of bishops wanting to enter into the Church, therefore no Orthodox bishops have entered the Church.

Bishop Sterniouk has been obliged to dismiss these two bishops, whom he had just received into the Catholic communion, and send them back to the Orthodox.

Another incident:  Recently, 24 Catholic bishops of the Melekite Rite were invited by the Holy See to sign a profession of faith that was drawn up by His Excellency Zogby, ex-Archbishop of Balbek. In it, these 24 Catholic Melekite bishops, which represents the majority of Catholic Melekites, declared that they have the faith of the Orthodox, they declared that with regards to the pope, they hold a communion such as the Oriental Fathers used to have with the Bishop of Rome in the way this was done during the first millennium. They recognize the Bishop of Rome only as first bishop ("inter pares" we need to specify say this, no?). Dear faithful, this means that 24 bishops have fallen back into schism. His Excellency Salin Boutros, Archbishop of Balbek, says that (they state that) this declaration implies the non-acceptance of all ecumenical Councils and dogmas after their separation in 1054. They are considered as mere theological opinions. This means heresy besides schism, all in the name of ecumenism!

Our conclusion is then, my dear faithful, that this ecumenism is an armyís weapon against the Catholic Church which is so much the more dangerous and pernicious because it presents itself under the appearance of peace, a smile and dialogue. Ecumenism has destroyed the Faith of the Church, has emptied her buildings and closed her doors.

No. Archbishop Lefebvre had not been wrong to continue his work, which is by the way not his work but that of the Church. With the help of God, we will continue this struggle. It goes without saying that as long as Rome continues like this, and lets ecumenism reign under the dome of St. Peter, no agreement is possible, for we want to remain Catholic and this ecumenism kills Catholicism.

Do not invent anything

As for you, dear brothers, in a few moments you will be priests. You will be sent into the world. This little story of the evils in the Church show you what is to be expected. In the world, it is just the same, every day there is more and more total indifference or even hatred for religion. You will be like weird birds with your cassocks on, straight out of the zoo, your words will sound like words coming from space. We send you indeed like sheep among wolves. What will you be saying to these parched souls, souls created by God to be saved and who are stuck deep in the misery of this world? Will they listen to you? What will you tell these souls? What will you tell the faithful who come to you, and who expect of you the things of God, men ordained by God "in iis quae sunt ad Deum". What will you say to them? Do not invent novelties. Speak only of what Christ Our Lord had to say. You are His priests. Your language should be His language, your Gospel, His Gospel. Would you dare to tell to these souls "Be taken in and profoundly tempted by the comforts of this world, the comforts and ease of this life"?

Would you rather be ready to tell them "Blessed the poor, blessed those who are ready to divest themselves of the things of this world" Certainly this requires prudence, for the measure corresponds to each ones state in life, but nevertheless the Spirit of Christ is totally opposed to the spirit of the world. "Blessed the poor". To the souls who come to you, suffering, despised, humiliated, and with their miseries, would you dare to tell them "Blessed those who weep"? To the souls have are tempted by all the fascinations which the world has to offer, fashions, pictures, advertisements, movies, television "Blessed the pure of heart. Blessed the pure of heart"? To those who come to complain that they have been spoken ill of, "Blessed are you when you are being persecuted because of my Name"?

It is quite clear, dear brothers, that these words will be effective only if they come together with the sermon of the lives you live. "Imitamini quod tractatis", imitate, imitate in your life and in all your actions what you do at the altar. When you ascend the altar, you ascend to the sacrifice, to the supreme place of despoilment of self, more than can be uttered, to the despoilment of oneís own person, because at that moment you will act "in persona Christi". You will take upon you and carry within you the whole Passion of Christ Our Lord. In a certain manner you take this upon yourselves, as an instrument certainly, but you will participate in it in an unspeakable manner. This is the way of the beatitudes, you will unite your humiliations, the contradictions to which you are subject, the despoilment of yourselves with those of Christ Our Lord, yes, in this way you will cooperate with the salvation of souls, you will win souls for Christ Our Lord, you will participate at meriting for these souls the eternal felicity to be with God for ever. That is what counts most, dear faithful and dear confreres, do not be attracted to this world, the enemy of your souls. "Seek first the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of God and His justice, all the rest will be given to you in addition." At every moment we have to make choices, and these choices are terrible choices because they are between God, our Sovereign and infinite Good, and creatures, which are nothing and can only provide a transitory pleasure, thatís all! And no doubt, my dear brothers, the day will come that these choices will be more clear cut and decisive, when you may have to choose to be the underdog rather than to lose the friendship of God. You may have to forego food and drink to remain faithful children of God! Be ready for this, my dear brothers! It is not just the Church where it is going bad.

Leave fear to the fearful

There is one God, almighty, infinitely good and Who loves us like a Father, and Who is perhaps going to submit us to some rough trials.  Let us pray that He give us in those moments the grace to chose for Himself. We know that God is almighty, infinitely good, that He will not abandon those who seek Him.

He has given us His Mother, this Mass is celebrated under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and you will be ordained a little bit like Our Lord, Who gives to us and Who assures you of the protection of His Mother. The Blessed Virgin, our good Mother in Heaven, who is "terrible as an army set in array", desires and wants to accompany you every day and at every step in your priesthood, especially at the altar. She desires only one thing, the greater glory of her Son, of God, that through your hands as much grace as is possible be shed onto the souls, that thus the Church may flourish anew.

We do not doubt for one instant who shall have the victory. The times may be tough, the victory is always on Godís side. If we stay on Godís side, and particularly under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, we have nothing to fear.

Let us leave fearfulness to the fearful. Let us ask of the Blessed Virgin this Faith which brought her close to God during her whole life, an invincible faith that conquers the world and all enemies of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 
 
 
 

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