O sweet Virgin Mary, Queen of martyrs and sorrows, my dear and afflicted Mother, by the merits of thy sorrows, obtain for me true contrition for my sins, a genuine amendment of life, a constant and tender compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and thy own dolors, and the grace to bear with patience the crosses God sends me. Happy indeed shall I be, if I only know how to accompany thee with my cross until death. And if Jesus and thou, being so innocent, have suffered so much for love of me, obtain that at least I, who am deserving of hell, may suffer something for your love.
O Mother of Sorrows, keep me near thee, to weep with thee, since I have so much reason to weep for the crimes by which I have offended my Crucified Lord and Savior. O good Mother, I hope, first through the death of my Redeemer, and then through thy sorrows, to obtain pardon and eternal salvation. Amen.
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” (Jn 19:25-27)
Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, has given us the blueprint for returning to and restoring Sacred Tradition. He has given us the blueprint on how to get to heaven—His life, His Church, and the religion He established, the Roman Catholic religion. Although we often use the phrase “returning to Tradition,” or “restoring Tradition,” it is really a question of restoring the Catholic Faith.
And Jesus Christ shows us how to do it. He is the Master and Teacher. He has given us the answers. He has given us the blueprint. It is His Cross.
A mere two weeks ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Consider the profound import of the following two brief prayers from that Mass.
Alleluia prayer: (a prayer which is directed to the Cross) “Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the load that hangs on thee: thou only was worthy to bear the King and Lord of heaven. Alleluia.”
Communion Antiphon: “Per signum Crucis de inimícis nostris líbera nos, Deus noster,” “By the sign of the Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O Thou our God.”
I want to urge all of you to look to Christ’s Cross for the answers on how to go about restoring the Catholic Faith and its glorious Tradition. This, then, is the first principle I propose, namely, the true blueprint for restoring Tradition is found at the foot of the Cross. For the purposes of this particular article, I will concentrate primarily on one aspect of the Mystery of the Cross: Jesus on the Cross giving us His Mother, and entrusting His Church to her maternal care and intercession, “Woman, behold thy son,” “Behold thy mother.” This is a culminating moment of the Passion and Death of Our Lord.
Hence, the second principle I propose is that, in God’s mysterious design, it is Our Lady who provides us with the true blueprint for restoring Tradition. Two thousand years ago, she stood faithfully by the foot of the Cross, and ever since then—across the centuries—she brings us all the necessary graces which flow from the Eternal Sacrifice of her Son.
The following quotation by Pope Leo XIII, will help us understand that Our Lady is bringing us God’s grace now, today!, in order to overcome the terrible crisis of faith which is afflicting our time.
“With wonderful care she nurtured the first Christians by her holy example, her authoritative counsel, her sweet consolation, her fruitful prayers. She was, in very truth, the Mother of the Church, the Teacher and Queen of the Apostles, to whom, besides, she confided no small part of the divine mysteries which she kept in her heart.
It is impossible to measure the power and scope of her offices since the day she was taken up to that height of heavenly glory in the company of her Son, to which the dignity and luster of her merits entitle her. From her heavenly abode she began, by God’s decree, to watch over the Church, to assist and befriend us as our Mother; so that she who was so intimately associated with the mystery of human salvation is just as closely associated with the distribution of the graces which for all time will flow from the Redemption. The power thus put into her hands is all but unlimited.” [Pope Leo XIII, Adiutricem 6-9, September 5, 1895]
Pope Leo XIII is teaching us that just as Our Blessed Mother was intimately united to her Son suffering and dying on the Cross, so she is “as closely associated with the distribution of the graces which for all time will flow from the Redemption.” Grace is flowing from the Cross today! to bring an end to the Modernist heresy and Modernist revolution of the past century, and Our Lady has been profoundly associated with the distribution of this grace . . . then what, where does this point to? I think it is obvious . . . Our Lady’s Apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, almost exactly one-hundred years ago.
So this takes us to my proposal of a third principle—the Holy Mother of God came to Fatima to provide us with the grace and light of the Cross that is specifically needed for our times. With her Message at Fatima, she provides us with the blueprint for restoring Tradition. In the post-Vatican II period, the devil’s tail has been wrecking widespread disorientation and destruction within the Church by promoting a counterfeit Catholicism. The devil has attacked, and continues his assault against Holy Mother Church by means of the Modernist heresy and the Modernist revolution disguised as “aggiornamento.” Yet we do not despair because Our Lord has given us the solution . . . His Mother came from heaven to Fatima in 1917, in order to crush the modernist head of the serpent.
In what follows, I will present a blueprint for restoring true Catholicism, and it will consist of three parts: Part I of the blueprint is based on the unchanging lex orandi, lex credendi of the Catholic Church, which is exactly what Our Lady came to emphasize and reaffirm at Fatima. Part II has to do with a specific aspect of Our Lady’s Message at Fatima, namely, the Papacy. Finally, Part III of the blueprint is derived from our first principle, the Cross. In order to restore Catholic Tradition, our souls must be purified at the foot of the Cross.
Part I: Lex orandi, lex credenda
As Roman Catholics, we must remain faithful to the lex orandi, lex credendi of Holy Mother Church. This is the most important guiding principle which I can offer you as to how to return to and restore our Catholic Faith: fidelity to the perennial lex orandi, lex credendi of Holy Mother Church. Be willing to do whatever it takes to be faithful to the Church’s ancient and timeless Liturgy and her ancient and timeless Faith. As many of you know, lex orandi refers to the Church’s law of prayer and lex credendi to her law of faith.
These two mutually affect each other: we believe according to what and how we pray; our prayer, especially Holy Mass, is a precious expression of our faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi—as we pray so we believe. The truths of the Faith do not change, thus, neither does the way we pray. Never in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church has there been a radical break with liturgical tradition, with the exception of the committee-produced, agenda-driven Novus Ordo Missæ in 1969. The Novus Ordo Mass represents the only revolution against liturgical tradition in the history of the Catholic Church! Such a revolution against the Church’s perennial lex orandi cannot have been the work of the Holy Ghost.
The essence of Catholicism is the truth, the truth revealed by God for our salvation, truth which does not change because it comes from God not man, truth which must be believed, adhered to, and transmitted faithfully.
Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ, yesterday and today, and the same forever.” Truth does not change, it remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.
St. Paul in 1 Cor 15:3, “For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures.” The essence of Catholicism is to hand on faithfully the truth one has received, not to change and adapt it according to the passing currents of a given time and place.
Reflect on the Athanasian Creed! This is how it begins, “Whoever wishes to be saved must before all else adhere to the Catholic Faith. He must preserve this Faith whole and untarnished; otherwise he shall most certainly perish forever.” The essence of Catholicism is to preserve the Faith whole, untarnished, and pure!
This is why St. Vincent of Lérins says in the fifth century, “I cannot sufficiently be astonished that such is the insanity of some men, such the impiety of their blinded understanding, such, finally, their lust after error, that they will not be content with the rule of faith delivered once and for all from antiquity, but must daily seek after something new, and even newer still, and are always longing to add something to religion, or to change it, or to subtract from it!”
As an aside, St. Vincent actually gives a prophetically apt description of today’s modernist heretics, “such is their insanity, such the impiety of their blinded understanding, such their lust after error.”
Pope Benedict XV teaches the following in his inaugural Encyclical, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914, “Nor do We merely desire that Catholics should shrink from the errors of Modernism, but also from the tendencies or what is called the spirit of Modernism. Those who are infected by that spirit develop a keen dislike for all that savors of antiquity and become eager searchers after novelties in everything: in the way in which they carry out religious functions, in the ruling of Catholic institutions, and even in private exercises of piety. Therefore it is Our will that the law of our forefathers should still be held sacred: ‘Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.’ ” The essence of Catholicism is to keep to what has been handed down.
Our Lady’s Message at Fatima is not simply a message about prayer, sacrifice, and making reparation for sin in a general sense; rather, Our Lady, our Mother, comes to warn us of the great risk of eternal damnation for so many souls, and the terrible assault that satan is about to unleash against God and the Church in our times, and she provides God’s answer . . . she brings the necessary and specific graces which flow from the Sacrifice of her Son. And all of this has to do with Catholic truth—true doctrine (lex credendi) and true worship (lex orandi). The sins which are leading millions of souls to hell are sins against true doctrine and true worship: heresy, blasphemy, and impurity (as foretold by Our Lady of Good Success in Quito, Ecuador, at the beginning of the seventeenth century).
→ How can one properly worship God if one has an unclean heart and an impure body?
→ If one’s soul is mortally stained with sins of impurity, how can one offer an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord?
→ Consider that one of the beautiful aspects of the Traditional Latin Mass is its repeated emphasis on purity . . . especially the purity of the priest who truly acts in persona Christi (tragically, this is largely gone in the New Mass).
The 20th century diabolical assault on the Church has been one aimed directly at undermining true doctrine and true worship. Listen to the prophetic words of Pope Pius XII in the 1930s when he was still Cardinal Pacelli, “I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul . . . ”
This takes us to the core of Our Lady’s Message at Fatima. It is a moving maternal admonition to remain faithful to Catholicism—Catholic doctrine and worship as these have been handed down since the time of the Apostles, and to make reparation for the outrages and sacrileges which most offend God, sins against Catholicism—heresy, blasphemy, impurity, and sins against the Holy Eucharist. Recall the beginning of the Third Secret, given by Our Lady on July 13, 1917, “In Portugal the dogma of Faith will always be preserved, etc.”
At Fatima, our Blessed Mother emphasizes doctrine, lex credendi: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, sin, grace, merit, satisfaction, and reparation, the Sacraments, her office of Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces, and the authority of the Papacy. In addition, she emphasizes the worship of the Church, lex orandi: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially the elements of sacrifice, adoration, and supreme reverence for the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord, Holy Communion, receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, and the Sacrament of Penance.
At Fatima, she is preserving and faithfully transmitting Church liturgy and doctrine, lex orandi, lex credendi.
There is, without question, a marked difference between Our Lady’s Message at Fatima and the whole spirit of Vatican II. At Fatima, Our Lady gave a dire warning about the sins of the world, a world that persists in offending God, a world desperately in need of conversion; on the other hand, the dominant attitude in the aftermath of Vatican II has been one of dialogue with the world and adaptation to a fallen world. At Fatima, Our Lady pointed to true Catholicism as the only thing that can save man and bring peace to the world, whereas in the post-conciliar era, man seems to already be saved, and what is generally called “Catholicism” is something that has been diluted, stripped, and altered, so as to make it more acceptable and appealing to the sinful world and to protestant heretics. There is a remarkable difference between God’s Plan revealed at Fatima, and the plan of man which has been carried out in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.
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Guided by the Holy Mother of God at Fatima, in order to restore Tradition, i.e. authentic Catholicism, we must do the following:
(1) Lex orandi. Do all you can to promote the Traditional Latin Mass. Come what may, do everything possible to adhere 100% to the Traditional Latin Mass. Encourage others to do the same. Keep learning about the Mass, study . . . read books on the Mass (e.g. The Hidden Treasure Holy Mass by St. Leonard of Port Maurice, and The Incredible Catholic Mass by Fr. Von Cochem)—really make an effort to learn more about the Mass of the Ages, the greatest treasure of the Catholic Church. Instead of having traditional Catholics fighting amongst each other, I urge you to spend more time marveling in wonder and awe before the ineffable Mysteries taking place at the altar. Adoring, reverencing, honoring, praising and thanking Almighty God in these His Mysteries is sure to yield greater unity of mind and purpose in action among traditional Catholics.
(2) Lex credendi. Do all you can to promote Catholic Church teaching, be 100% faithful to Church doctrine, study your faith from the Catechisms published prior to 1965, and be extremely careful of any post-Vatican II teaching that is not in harmony with the perennial teaching of the Church. I highly recommend that you study the Papal Encyclicals from the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries (e.g. The Popes Against Modern Errors published by TAN books).
(3) Strive to recover the traditional disciplines, practices, and pious devotions of the Catholic Church, for example, fasting during Lent, fasting at least three hours before Holy Mass, fasting on Ember Days and on the Vigils of great feasts, abstaining from meat every Friday, taking on voluntary penances and mortifications, dressing modestly (e.g. women wearing their chapel veils to Mass, and always wearing their long skirts or dresses), praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday, growing in devotion to the Sacred Heart and Precious Blood of Our Lord, praying Novenas to the Angels and Saints, lighting and using blessed Candles, getting sacramentals blessed with the appropriate prayers from the Ancient Rite, making frequent use of holy water and blessed salt, participating in Processions for Corpus Christi and Christ the King, and promoting Marian devotions with zeal, “De Maria numquam satis,” say the Saints, “Of Mary there is never enough.” There can never be enough Marian devotion in our lives!
(4) Study and learn about the Message of the most holy Mother of God at Fatima, put it into practice, and spread this Catholicism to others. Pray the Rosary devoutly every day, make frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament and make reparation for blasphemies against Our Lord and Our Lady (we can pray the prayer which the Angel of Fatima taught the three children when he first appeared to them in the Summer of 1916, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask pardon of Thee for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.”), pray, fast, and make sacrifices for your sins and for the sins of all sinners and unbelievers, practice the First Saturday devotion, consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for the Holy Father so that he will finally obey God and (a) consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the Bishops of the world and (b) publish the full text of the Third Secret.
(5) Please, please do not engage in bitter fighting and backbiting with fellow traditional Catholics. This type of infighting does not come from God. Certainly we may disagree on the best approach to restore Tradition, and we may be very convinced of our own position, but let us not forget that it is Catholicism which gives us our identity, not the particular group we associate with. First and foremost, we are Catholic because we adhere to the Church’s timeless lex orandi, lex credendi. The means we discern and decide upon by which to achieve this, is just that, a means, not an end in itself.
Heed the admonition of St. Paul, “For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1:11-13)
The following is a good example of the attitude which we should strive to adopt, “I am Catholic, and I think the best way to work at restoring the Faith and serving God and Holy Mother Church is through the FSSPX/ FSSP/ICRSS/ Diocesan apostolate/Sedevacantism. Note that the emphasis here is on being Catholic, on adhering to the Church’s timeless lex orandi, lex credendi; the emphasis is not on particular group affiliation. No one particular group has a monopoly on the lex orandi, lex credendi of Holy Mother Church. The Deposit of Faith has been entrusted by Our Divine Lord and Savior to His Church. The various groups exist to serve the restoration of the Church’s lex orandi, lex credendi.
Part II: The Papacy
The awful crisis which Our Lady of Fatima came to warn us about and help us prevent, is no doubt a colossal crisis of faith . . . but it is also a crisis of the Papacy. Consider some of the Catholic Prophecy which alerts of a coming papal crisis:
The 5th century Prophecy of Premol: “But mercy, mercy for Rome. But Thou hearest not my entreaties, and Rome also collapses in tumult. Thy Church, O Lord, is torn apart by her own children. One camp is faithful to the fleeing Pontiff, the other is subject to the new government of Rome which has broken the Tiara.”
John of the Cleft Rock, 14th century: “The Pope with his cardinals will have to leave Rome in tragic circumstances to a place where they will be unknown. The Pope will die a cruel death in his exile. The sufferings of the Church will be much greater than at any previous time in her history.”
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a German Augustinian nun who bore the stigmata of Our Lord, from visions which she had in 1820: “I saw a strange church being built against every rule . . . In that church, nothing came from high above . . . It is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion, as well as the new heterodox church of Rome, which seems of the same kind. I saw again the strange big church that was being built in Rome. There was nothing holy in it. I see the Holy Father in great anguish. I see the false church of darkness is making progress, and I see the dreadful influence it has on people. The Holy Father and the Church are verily in so great a distress that one must implore God day and night.”
Our Lady of La Salette, September 19, 1846, but not put in writing by Melanie, the main seer, until 1878, “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist. The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay.”
The Ecstatic of Tours, her name is not known, she was a nun living in Tours, France, and in the 2nd half of the 19th century she prophesied: “For some time the Church will be without a Pope.”
Now consider the Message of Fatima regarding a Papal crisis in our times:
Our Lady of Fatima, on July 13, 1917, said that if her requests went unheeded, “The good will be martyrized, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”
Sr. Lucia of Fatima wrote the following testimony in her Third Memoir, published in 1942, regarding Blessed Jacinta, who was only seven years old at the time, 1917. Blessed Jacinta related to Lucia, “I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.”
Our Lord revealed the following to Sr. Lucia in Rianjo, Spain, in August 1931, “They did not want to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do so, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!”
On June 26, 2000, the Vatican released a part of the long-awaited Third Secret of Fatima (by order of the Blessed Virgin, this was supposed to have been made public in 1960). Sr. Lucia describes a vision in which the Papacy has the central role, “And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'.” Why does Lucia say she had the impression he was the Pope instead of simply calling him the Pope? No, instead she refers to him as a Bishop dressed in white. What a strange choice of words, but clearly they are very precise and intentional. And the children saw him as if passing before a mirror. Mirrors are used to create illusions and do not show us reality but an image of what is real… it is quite probable that God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Sr. Lucia are indicating to us that the Papacy is at the center of the terrible crisis afflicting the Church in our times. Later on in this vision, the Pope—and this time Sr. Lucia calls him the Pope in no ambiguous or perplexing terms—passes through a big city half in ruins and half trembling and with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow. He reaches the top of a steep mountain and is on his knees at the foot of a big Cross, where he is martyred by a group of soldiers who fire bullets and arrows at him.
The full content of the Third Secret of Fatima remains undisclosed, but the available testimony regarding this content zeroes in on a Papal crisis. For example:
→ Cardinal Oddi, stated on March 17, 1990, “The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against apostasy in the Church.”
→ Cardinal Ciappi (personal papal theologian to Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II), stated in March 2002, “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
→ Fr. Malachi Martin, who was a close collaborator with Cardinal Bea under Pope John XXIII, read the Third Secret. In 1997, Fr. Martin gave an interview on the Art Bell Show. He confirmed that the Secret reveals a Pope who “would be under the control of Satan.”
One of the salient indications of the Message of Fatima is that while it warns of a grave crisis in the Papacy, it also underscores the authority of the Pope, the sacredness of the Office, and identifies the Papacy as the solution to the crisis! Our Lady highlights the key and indispensable role of the Pope—it is the Vicar of Christ who must consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart in union with all of the world’s Bishops. Our Blessed Mother reveals plainly that the solution to the crisis rests in the hands of her Son’s Vicar on earth and Successor to St. Peter. The answer lies in Catholicism, whole and untarnished, without which man shall most certainly perish forever.
Perhaps the major reason that the present Church crisis is so grave, is that it involves a satan-led, all-out assault on the Papacy. It involves a diabolical attempt to subvert the Papacy. One of the priceless jewels of Catholicism is the Papacy. Reflect on this magnificent truth—due to the grace of the Papal office, we have the Representative of the Son of God here on earth! . . . Jesus Christ! continues to rule His Mystical Body and exercise His divine Power through the Pope. St. Peter and his Successors have been given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven for the sake of the salvation of souls! The Pope is to safeguard the purity of the Faith. The glorious purpose of the Petrine Office is defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX, in Chapter Four of Pastor Aeternus, the First Vatican Council’s Apostolic Constitution on the Church, dated July 18, 1870:
“So the fathers of the Fourth Council of Constantinople (869 A.D.), following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. . . . . In the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honor.
Then there is the definition of the Council of Florence: ‘The Roman Pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our Lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole Church.’ To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received.
The Roman pontiffs . . . defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God’s help, they knew to be in keeping with Sacred Scripture and the apostolic traditions. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.
Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior.”
What happens if the See of St. Peter is blemished by error, allows error to go unchecked, or even promotes the spread of heresy? How can this be? Is this even possible? We just finished quoting Church doctrine, “the See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error.” The scope of this article is very limited, so it cannot address this substantial topic directly (i.e. the sedevacantist argument/position); however, I will note that the Message of Our Lady of Fatima provides us with two significant points to consider in this regard: (1) we are witnessing a terrible crisis in the Papacy, and (2) the divine remedy for the crisis will come from the Papacy. It is the Pope who must consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is the Pope who must obey God’s command. It is the Pope himself who must submit to Catholic truth, in order for there to be a restoration of Catholicism.
Ever since the Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, the Popes themselves have illustrated the crisis afflicting their Office. On the one hand, they have given unprecedented papal approval and support to Fatima; on the other hand, they continue to disobey Our Lady’s command. Including Pope Francis, eight consecutive Popes have now failed to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and all six Popes since John XXIII, inclusive, have refused to reveal the full contents of the Third Secret. The Popes have not obeyed the command of Heaven! Scandalous, inconceivable, yet incontestably true: the Popes have disobeyed God.
Our Lady’s Message at Fatima presents us with a daunting paradox: the Papacy is in grave crisis/only the Papacy can provide the ultimate solution. In light of this paradox, in order to restore Tradition, we must do the following:
(1) Following the example of Sr. Lucia of Fatima, we must do our very best to practice obedience and respect towards legitimate Church authority, especially the Pope, because the ultimate solution to the crisis will come from the top. Jesus Christ’s Church is hierarchical.
(2) The Pope and the Papacy itself will have much to suffer. The Papacy is in crisis, so following the example of Blessed Jacinta of Fatima, we must make greater efforts to pray and sacrifice for the Holy Father.
(3) Following the example of Blessed Francisco of Fatima, let us spend more time before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We go before Our Lord because we love Him. Let us go before Him to make reparation for our sins, the sins of others, and the sins of the Church hierarchy.
(4) Let us take seriously the daunting nature of this papal paradox. In practice, this means no infighting among the various traditionalist groups because we recognize that allegiance to a particular group (FSSPX, FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, Diocesan Latin Mass apostolate, the Resistance, Sedevacantist groups) is not the ultimate solution to the crisis. It is the Pope who must obey God and the timeless lex orandi, lex credendi of the Catholic Church. It is the Pope who must religiously guard and faithfully expound the Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles, which includes the Traditional Latin Mass. It is the Pope who must consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the Bishops of the world.
(5) Let us take seriously the daunting nature of this papal paradox. In practice, this means acknowledging the positive contributions which each group of traditional Catholics is making towards the restoration of the Faith, and realizing that we need each other. Almost certainly, there is no single, natural way through which God will choose to bring about His victory (i.e. no one, sole traditionalist group has the papal paradox perfectly figured out). The diabolical disorientation that has clouded every level of the Church is real, and it affects all traditional Catholics as well. This makes it extremely difficult to discern God’s holy Will properly. We need each other.
There is a papal crisis, so let us thank Almighty God for the heroic efforts of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, to preserve the lex orandi, lex credendi of the Church pure and uncontaminated. The Society of St. Pius X are loyal sons of the Church. May God bless them. Only the Papacy can provide the ultimate solution to the crisis, so let us thank Almighty God for all the various Ecclesia Dei priestly societies and communities, and Diocesan Latin Mass apostolates, for their sincere efforts to practice holy obedience to the Holy See. They too are loyal sons of the Church. May God bless them. Finally, there are many of our sedevacantist brethren who love the Church and the Papacy, and are trying their very best to contribute to the restoration of the true Faith. They are also loyal sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church. May God bless them.
Part III: The Cross
I would like to review and bring together the three principles which I proposed for returning to and restoring Catholicism. The first principle: The true blueprint for restoring Tradition is found at the foot of the Cross. The second principle: In God’s mysterious design, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who provides us with this blueprint for restoring Tradition. The third principle: The Holy Mother of God came to Fatima to provide us with the blueprint for restoring Tradition. There are at least three major ways in which Our Lady of Fatima directs us to her Son’s Cross: first, the stunning vision of the Blessed Trinity and the Crucifixion which God granted Sr. Lucia in Tuy, Spain, on June 13, 1929; second, the centrality of the Cross in the vision part of the Third Secret, made public by the Vatican on June 26, 2000; and third, the extreme suffering endured by the three shepherd children of Fatima—there can be no doubt that Our Lady called them to stand with her at the foot of her Son’s Cross.
My dear children in the Faith, in order to restore Tradition we must be willing to suffer in the footsteps of Jesus, Mary, Peter and Paul, and all the venerable saints and martyrs. St. Louis de Montfort instructs us, “Be glad therefore when God favors you with one of His choicest crosses, for without realizing it you are being blessed with the greatest gift of God. Yes, the cross is God’s greatest gift.” Why is the cross God’s greatest gift? Because suffering for the sake of the truth makes saints! By His suffering on the Cross, Jesus opened the gates of Heaven. By His suffering on the Cross, Jesus made Mary Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces. By His suffering on the Cross, think of all the martyrs and saints who have been made over the course of twenty centuries.
The current Church crisis is a dreadful crisis of Faith, lex orandi, lex credendi. However, it is also a crisis of sanctity. At present, the Church Militant suffers from an extreme dearth of sanctity. In order to restore Tradition, we must, more than anything else, grow in sanctity. Suffering is God’s greatest gift because it affords us the best opportunity to become saints and martyrs. Consider the following passage from the book, Our Glorious Popes, published in 1955, by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
“After three hundred years of persecution, the great Ecumenical Council of Nicaea took place in 325 A.D. in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Given that so many of the 318 Bishops who attended the Council bore on their bodies testimony of the torture they had undergone for the Faith in the last and most cruel of the persecutions, the Fathers of the Council broke into tears of love and veneration at the sight of them. The most illustrious servants of God were pointed out—in particular, the survivors of the persecution, those who bore on their bodies the scars and holy wounds of a glorious confession. There was Potamon, Bishop of Heraclea in Egypt, who had lost an eye; Paphnutius, of the Upper Thebaid, who had both lost an eye and been maimed in the knee, and Paul, Bishop of Neocaesarea on the Euphrates, lamed in both hands by the hot irons of the Emperor Licinius . . .
Many of those present at the Council, went up to these living martyrs to kiss the scars of those holy wounds . . . ”
What Holy Mother Church needs most today are living saints and living martyrs! Please remember and burn it into your mind and heart: in order to restore Catholicism we must, more than anything else, grow in sanctity through suffering. Jesus Christ teaches us this truth from His Cross.
Rest assured, God will give us many opportunities to grow in sanctity through suffering. For example:
(1) Every time you are ignored, marginalized, belittled, ridiculed, scorned, or humiliated on account of your fidelity to the Traditional Latin Mass and unchanging Church doctrine, rejoice and be glad! “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake . . . ” (Mt 5:11) Offer up these sufferings to God for the restoration of holy Tradition.
(2) Be fervent and devout in your prayer, and persevere. Persevere in prayer, come what may, and pray especially for the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all of the world’s Bishops. Pray, make a Novena, for greater unity, understanding, and forgiveness among the various traditionalist groups. If another traditionalist or Novus Ordo Catholic attacks and offends you, bear those wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries, suffer with charity, and count yourself blessed to stand at the foot of the Cross.
(3) Practice self-renunciation. This not only applies to us as individuals, but also to all the various traditionalist groups: the Society of St. Pius X, the Resistance, Sedevacantists, Ecclesia Dei priestly societies and communities, Diocesan Latin Mass centers, etc. According to St. Vincent de Paul, self-renunciation signifies renouncing one’s own senses, one’s own passions, one’s own will, and one’s own judgment. It is terribly sad to see the hubris of some traditionalist groups and individuals who insist that their own interpretation of doctrine and prudential judgment on how to deal with the crisis is infallible (it appears these groups and individuals believe themselves to be immune from the diabolical disorientation that has spread its devious tentacles everywhere), while everyone else is either “schismatic,” “excommunicated,” “disloyal to the Pope and the hierarchy,” a “traitor to the cause,” a “compromiser with modernist Rome,” “disobedient,” etc. Kýrie, eléison, Christe, eléison, Kýrie, eléison. My dear friends in Christ:
we need less rhetoric and more renunciation of one’s own judgment
we need fewer “doctors of theology and doctrine,” and more servants of Catholic truth in charity
we need less arrogance and more humility
we need fewer “answers to the crisis” and more suffering in silence with love
we need fewer debates and more prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament
.we need less googling and more meditation on the Passion of Our Lord
.we need less standing on traditional soap-boxes, and more standing at the foot of the Cross
(4) Be patient—be willing to pray and suffer; only God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and an obedient Pope can solve this dreadful crisis. Be patient—the current crisis will not be resolved according to our timetable, nor according to our groups, ways and thoughts; rather, the happy resolution will take place in God’s time and according to His inscrutable designs and infinite wisdom.
(5) Please, let us all take to heart that which we pray at Holy Mass before receiving Our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion, “Dómine, non sum dignus . . . Dómine, non sum dignus . . . Dómine, non sum dignus.” We are not worthy of all the treasures of Catholic Tradition that God has graced us with. May we grow in humility. May we be willing to suffer whatever trials God allows, for the sake of the restoration of Catholicism, and so merit the graces necessary to move Almighty God to bring this horrific crisis to a felicitous end.
In conclusion, know that whatever you suffer out of love for Christ and His truth, however small, will merit special graces for you and the Church . . . you shall be drawn deeper into the Immaculate Heart of Our Sorrowful Mother. She weeps next to her Son’s Cross (Jn 19:25), pondering His suffering in her heart (Lk 2:51):
It is natural to suppose that before delivering Himself up to death, Jesus took leave of His blessed Mother. Consider the indescribable sorrow experienced by Jesus and Mary at the mournful moment of separation. Jesus, the most affectionate of the sons of men, takes a last farewell of His beloved Mother before parting to die amidst unspeakable sufferings. What bitter sorrow do they both experience! Mary knows that she is soon to behold her Son agonizing on a Cross, His sacred Body mangled, bleeding, and covered with wounds. O how her maternal heart throbs with anguish! Jesus sighs, and the sorrow He inflicts on Mary’s heart is a source of the deepest anguish to His own. What tears of bitter anguish and lively sorrow must Mary have shed on embracing for the last time her only and innocent Son about to deliver Himself up to death! What affliction must Jesus have felt on parting from, and bidding a last farewell to, the tenderest of Mothers!
Mary comprehends how deep is the sea of sorrow into which her maternal heart is to be plunged at the sight of the innumerable wounds and the barbarous death which await her Son, and of which she is to be a mournful witness. And yet Mary, filled with love for us, and a desire for our salvation, and burning with charity toward God, Who requires this painful sacrifice from her, rises superior to herself, and offers generously to suffer everything. Although the Passion and Death of Jesus will be to her a source of infinite grief, she willingly, and with her whole heart, gives her consent, and, with more than a martyr’s strength of mind, makes the sacrifice of her beloved Son. “Go, my Son!” she says, “Go, to suffer on the Cross; go, even to death; such is the Will of Thy Heavenly Father; and such, also, is mine. Would only that I were permitted to die with Thee!” [The School of Jesus Crucified, pp. 35-37, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus]
Indeed, only if you and I are at the foot of the Cross—accepting with resignation and love the sufferings God sends us—shall we be able to dwell in His Sacred Heart through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Go, to suffer on the Cross; such is the Will of Thy Heavenly Father; and such, also, is mine.”
Editor's Note; Many thanks to Father Rodriguez for his kind permission to print this transcript of his excellent talk at this year’s Catholic Identity Conference. If you'd like to see more articles like this please help us keep this website going. MJM