October 1998 - Superior General's Letter #55

At last the Society’s mother-house has a true church: the heart and soul of a seminary forming future priests. The 17 young priests ordained this year have been sent to the four comers of the earth. Slowly a fabric of the Faith is forming again in Society. We invite you to take action and we place great hopes in the Rosary to cure the ills afflicting our age. So, we are launching a new Rosary Crusade: for Christian society in peril, for the Christian family, for the Church.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Pride and joy were the sentiments visible on every face outside the new church of the Seminary in Econe after its solemn blessing on October 10. At last the Society’s mother-house has what Archbishop Lefebvre wished it had from the beginning: the heart and soul of a seminary forming future priests, namely a church, a true church, built of local stone. After 20 years of making do, of trying to build and being refused the necessary permits, at last there rises up a church and its bell-tower amidst the vineyards: a finger of God pointing upwards to the eternal realities, and rejoicing hearts with the ringing out of its four bells.

This new house of God can seat 400 people with ease, and another 140 seminarians in the transept. However, while the people can easily fill their seats in the nave, there are still in the transept a number of empty pews, waiting for the future applicants for the priesthood that you are to obtain, dear readers, by your urgent prayers. This autumn we had 21 new seminarians in Flavigny, 10 in Zaitzkofen, 7 in Winona! Each vocation we purchase by sacrifices and prayer, let us not forget! So let us be twice as fervent in begging the Sovereign High Priest for this priestly bread from heaven: Let young men answer the call with courage, let hearts be touched and set on fire with the zeal of the Lord: “I have pity on the crowd”, he says, “for they have nothing to eat”…

The 17 young priests ordained this year have been sent to the four comers of the earth to join their elders who are too few in number. Our Argentine seminary will give us another four priests in December, which will bring our total number of priests to over 370. We may wish for more, but we are happy with those we have, especially when we see how much harm the Devil seeks to inflict on them, and how much good God works through their priestly hands. His mercy and graces spread far and wide to strengthen souls in virtue, uphold them in their pain and give them courage in the “warfare of life”, as Job calls it. Christian families flourish once more. A new generation of children calls for even more care and attention to be given to the schools already absorbing a good deal of our energy. Slowly a fabric of the Faith is forming again in Society. All this is constituting a renewal of Christian social life which even if it is only in the embryonic stage, is enough to worry those fighting against any return of the moral order! Yes indeed, the enemies of God striving to build a civilization without Him are ever less afraid of making themselves heard, witness their plans for legalizing same-sex marriages.

As Pius XII said in his Encyclical on “Increasing evils” of 1951, “If evils and the aggression of wicked men are on the rise, then the zeal of all good men must increase in proportion…” This remark is, an invitation to take action, action in a variety of forms, but firstly the action proposed to us by the Church.

“So we will not hesitate to say it again, “ he says in the same Encyclical, “We place, great hopes in the Rosary to cure the ills afflicting our age. Not by force, nor by weapons, nor by any human power, but only by the help of God obtained through this prayer, will the Church, with the strength Of David and his sling, be able to take on the fearless enemy coming straight out of Hell …..”

In the same letter, speaking of the family, the Pope goes on to say, “However, above all in the family hearth do we wish the saying of the Rosary to be spread, to be faithfully maintained and unceasingly extended. In vain will be all efforts to halt the decline of civilization if the family, principle and foundation of society, is not brought back to the Faith of the Gospel. We wish to declare that reciting the Rosary in the family is one of the most efficacious means to succeed in this difficult undertaking…”

There is no end to the quotations of the Popes which recommend and even command the Rosary to be recited because of the difficult times which Church and world are going through. They lend support to Our Lady in her constant appeals at La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima to “Pray the Rosary”.  The Heart of our heavenly Mother asks for this protection and grants it to us are we to remain deaf to her request?

It seems fitting to recall the reminders coming in this sense from earth as well as from heaven: the situation of Church and world are incomparably worse now than they were then. There is no room for illusion, even if in most countries on earth people are now enjoying the semblance of tranquility.

Both in theory, as to the ideas or principles presently directing society, and in practice, as to the morals and habits taking hold in daily life, the destruction of Christendom is advancing apace. The confused thinking and compromising on the part of many of the guardians of Faith and morals merely speed up the process, as does the Church’s coming to an understanding with the world.

In this month of October, month of the Holy rosary, reminding us of the Church’s concern over a situation which for the last 100 years has only got worse, we call upon you urgently to pray. Let the Rosary be prayed in every family, and where that is already being done, let it be prayed even better, meditating with all one’s heart and mind on the mysteries of the life of Our Lord and Our Lady. Moreover, we are launching a new Rosary Crusade. To pray the Rosary and live by the Rosary imitating the virtues we contemplate in its mysteries.

A Rosary crusade for Christian society in peril, for the Christian family, for the Church. Let the neo-modernism weighing down on the Church like a cape of lead be torn apart, let the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass recover its rightful place, let priests be priests once more to pursue priestly holiness for the benefit of all concerned, let grace again freely flowing rejuvenate the supernatural beauty of the Church!

We are inwardly convinced that our heavenly Mother, so attentive to our needs and to the dangers hanging over us, will heed our appeal, and that her all-powerful intercession will obtain from her divine Son graces of protection, courage, strength, of a persevering faith and an ardent charity which nothing can overcome, until the complete triumph of Our King and Lord Jesus Christ, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

† Bernard Fellay

October 1998