Most Holy Father,
The pride of the reformers who, in past centuries, always came up against the holy fidelity of the apostolic Magisterium to Christ her Founder, has received today from the supreme Authority full scope to «renovate» our traditional Church and, by means of a conclusive «aggiornamento», to bring her back to the Gospel, to purify her of all in her that bore the trace of age-old imperfection, to correct all that repelled the modern world and contravened its demands. Thus, the glorious pioneers of this reform of the Church plan to present her at last to men in conformity with the Utopia of which they have long dreamt. The modern pioneers have succeeded the alleged Reformers of the sixteenth century, Protestants driven out of the Church on account of their schism and heresy, and thus reduced to attacking her from without. They have succeeded the Modernists who secretly plotted to change the Faith and the institutions of the Church by acting from within, but against a Hierarchy that reproved them – in the encyclical Pascendi (1907), in the Letter on the Sillon (1910), and in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950). Since 11 October 1962 these commissioned Reformers have succeeded. The work of these conciliar Fathers or periti (theologians) consists of reinterpreting the dogmas, revising morality, and modernising rites and discipline, and the Hierarchy itself considers it in its principle and in its most general form of «renewal» as inspired and directed by «the Spirit». The Roman Church, which yesterday was still «one, holy, Catholic and apostolic», is thus «in a state of permanent reform».
In this drift that is carrying her far from her place of origin, in this transfiguration (or disfigurement) of her historical being, in this opening to the world, one fact requires the attention of Your Holiness, that of the division of the Church, in hearts and in minds. The understanding of a concept cannot evolve without its extension varying to the same degree. The «people of God» of the New Reform is no longer exactly the same as the faithful Catholic people of not so long ago. Those who claim to find the rule of their mentality and of their new habits in Man’s Future necessarily separate themselves from those who have forever and fully found it in the Christian Past. Let us leave the indistinct mass of the flock that accepts everything – the old and the new – with blind obedience and blind faith. Their unthinking consent, whether passive or solicited by the authorities of the hour, proves nothing significant. The fact of the division is blatant at the extremes.
... This division is not material or superficial. It is spiritual and formal. There exist among us two religions in a single Church: the unchangeable dogmatic one and the modern pastoral one, that of Catholicism and that of ecumenism, that of the cult of God in Jesus Christ and, in the words of Paul VI, your predecessor, that of the cult of Man in the world. These two religions are not identical; the latter does not emerge from the former by logical development. Moreover, it claims to manifest better than the other one the true and pure Gospel.
... We must acknowledge the fact that there is a rupture in historical Tradition, by the superimposition or substitution of one religious faith for another. No «hermeneutic of continuity» can preclude the fact that there is a dramatic split in Catholic society between the adherents of the ancient allegiance and the devotees of the new.
Modernism cannot be brought into conformity with the deposit of the faith; the New Church is built on the ruins of the Ancient one. This Reform is opposed in general and in detail to Tradition, just as its so-called new “good” and pastoral “perfection” is opposed to the age-old “evil” and ancient “sin” of the Church. Thus, there is salvation only in casting into oblivion, abolishing, retracting all these worldly fashions and fables that will have momentarily overshadowed the divine Mystery of the Holy Church.
Retract the Second Vatican Council? Yes!
... The whole work of the Council was warped. Theologians, a council, even a pope, St. Paul would say “an angel”, no one has the inspiration nor the grace to reform what Jesus Christ himself instituted and to abolish what the Holy Spirit created throughout the centuries. The religious power of the hierarchy ends at the threshold of this sacrilege, which in itself is null and void. Guardians and Doctors of the faith, Pastors entrusted with bringing about the salvation of souls through the grace and the law of Christ, the reigning Pope and bishops alive today are not, according to St. Francis of Sales, the landlords of the Church but its administrators. They have not received, nor will they ever receive the mission to carry out the metamorphosis of her, and the revolutionary formula repeated everywhere of a “new Church for a new world” does not come from God. Christ is the cornerstone of the Church, and no one else. A single Pentecost sufficed; any other one could only come from another Spirit, from an Antichrist.
... One should leave no room for revolution. The wind from so many speeches will soon raise a storm that no one will be able to boast that he can calm. All that remains is to retrace one’s way from this whole programme of reform in order to disavow and abandon it as an unprecedented, impracticable and, what is more, illegitimate endeavour.
One does not reform the Church.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Letter from the abbé de Nantes to His Holiness Benedict XVI
From the October edition of the CRC journal: