Dear Friends and Benefactors,
the occasion of All Saints' Day, anniversary of the founding of our
Society of St. Pius X, we had the joy of seeing a magnificent church
in the heart of Brussels restored to Catholic worship. This church,
with an area of some 25,000 square feet, built in the middle of the
19th century, was for a long time Belgiumís national shrine
dedicated to St. Joseph. Kept by the Redemptorists, it was the religious
edifice in which the traditional Mass was celebrated officially for
the longest time in Belgium's capital city, well after 1969. We were
able to acquire it from a Syriac group which worshipped there for some
this church seems to us highly symbolical. As it were, it sums up where
we are and what we are doing - restoring Catholic Tradition as best
we can within the Church.
may seem presumptuous, and, no doubt, if it were something we were trying
to do by ourselves, we could hardly avoid the accusation of presumption.
But the facts are there: we remain faithfully and steadily attached
to Catholic Tradition, in particular to the Tridentine rite of Mass
bearing abundant spiritual fruit. And now that the crisis in the Church
is becoming more obvious by the great lack of priests in eastern and
western hemispheres and by the immense emptiness at the heart of the
faith as it is being handed down to future generations, the Tridentine
rite is becoming like a statement pointing put how to put a massive
end to the crisis in the Church, and to bring about a lasting restoration.
a considerable number of priests, especially young ones, and even some
bishops, are looking with favour, in most cases without yet making themselves
heard, upon our work. We represent an encouragement for them and a glimmer
of hope, because many of them feel overwhelmed by discouragement, not
to say despair, at seeing the indescribable obstinacy of so many bishops
in preventing all rescue attempts, be it in the teaching of the catechism,
in the introducing of a little more respect in the receiving of holy
Communion or in the celebration of Mass.
thirty years now all over the world, we have been watching how the least
recovery attempt is met by an often savage opposition on the part of
those who anonymously but efficaciously wield power. Stop anything that
looks like turning the clock back: all too often the authorities watch
out for nothing else. If only that was not the case! But very few of
them stand up to the all-round pressure of the reforms and their aftermath.
in Rome, if any of the churchmen become aware of the disaster, they
hasten to state that there is no turning back, as regards for instance
the Mass or ecumenism. It is a little as though a baker were to complain
of the low nutritional value of some new bread, only to declare that
there is no going back to making the old kind of bread. Why not?
should the ecumenism being practiced today be irreversible? Why should
general freedom for the so-called mass of St. Pius V be refused, when
its grandeur, beauty and all-round fruitfulness are known to all? The
reason we are given is that that would be to devalue the new rite of
Mass. That is a poor reason, coming from suicidal reformers who would
rather cling to the reforms they brought about than get out of their
for our part we are resolved to be just as obstinate, for the sake of
the Church, the Roman Catholic Church which we love because she gave
us the Faith, the life of grace, the sacraments, supernatural life,
the pledge of eternity. In one word, because she is our Mother. We wish
her to be like Our Lord wishes her to be, stainless, without spot or
wrinkle (Eph V, 5), but we also know such beauty comes at a price. We
know that a restoration of the Church will not happen without suffering,
without the Cross, as we follow in Our Lord's own footsteps: "For
unto this you are called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving
you an example that you should follow his steps. 'Who did not sin, neither
was guile found in his mouth". Who, when he was reviled, did not
revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to
him that judged him unjustly. Who his own self bore our sins in his
body on the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice:
by whose stripes you were healed" (I Pet. II, 21-24).
are not looking for an easy or highly visible success. Ours is an undertaking
that calls for souls ready to give everything, including life; souls
ready to sacrifice and suffer. Our Lord gave us no other way to follow,
no other remedy. And all Church history is full of such heroes, such
victories "in reverse". We seek no other way than this one,
because it is Our Lord's way. "Regnavit a ligno Deus". God
reigned from the Cross. We preach Christ, and Christ crucified, such
is the line taken by the Apostle of the Gentiles. "For I judged
not myself to know any thing among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified"
(I Cor. II, 2).
Brussels is not the only place where the Church's restoration is symbolically
expressed: we rejoice in a number of church blessings and consecrations
this year. Let us take just the most typical: in Denver, Colorado, a
magnificent neo-Romanesque church was built with the help of some 300
Denver Catholics, and consecrated on August 18; the seminary church
in La Reja in the Argentine, a neo-colonial jewel, will be consecrated
next December 8; also in the Argentine, Mendoza is getting a new priory
and a splendid church; in Switzerland, Fribourg now boasts a beautiful
chapel, as does Veneta in the USA, while in Mexico the transformation
of our church in the capital city is being completed. In France, three
handsome buildings will soon be ready for purposes of worshipping God:
in Toulon, Saintes and Saint-Maid. So here and there all over the world
are rising up beautiful buildings for our priests and people the more
easily to lift up to God their worship through the prayer of the liturgy.
It is most consoling to see scattered across all continents the same
fervour, the same zeal to honour God as handsomely as possible. The
numerous buildings are clear testimony to your admirable generosity.
we rejoice far more yet in the building up of your souls. In all ages
Mother Church has seen in the building of a church a symbol of herself.
The souls are stones cut to fit one another, resting firmly on the Rock,
Peter, laid by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter, on whom the Redeemer built
his Church, describes this mystery in his first epistle: "Unto
whom coming, as to a living stones, rejected indeed by men, but chosen
and made honourable by God: Be you also as living stones built up, a
spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices..."
(I Pet.II, 4-5).
even if times are hard, God is granting us many consolations, such as
conversions, the education of our children, the opening of their hearts
towards their heavenly Father; Christian families set upon living according
to God's commandments without holding back, at the cost of great sacrifice;
abundant fruit also in the various religious congregations close to
us - all this is a consolation to us because it consoles the heart of
let us continue, dear friends, let us continue to do as much good as
possible, especially good to souls - our own souls, those of our relatives
and of many others too. The day will come when what we are witnessing
to will be recognized. May Our Lady hasten that day!
Bernard Fellay, Superior General