Transcript for Fr. Pagliarani's December 2021 Angelus Conference

It's a great pleasure for me to be here for this conference. They gave me a broad title. The mission of the society, it's a classical title for the Superior. So he can talk a lot. So what we can say, the mission of the society is always the same. This mission is, and to keep this mission, the society has to remain always the same, has to remain what it is. Circumstances changed a lot during the last few years, this year in particular, we will see, but the role of the society is always the same, is to upholding, defending tradition. And the providential role of the society is more and more clear every year. Of course, as Superior General, I am not the best person, in the best position to say that there is not another option, but after the last Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes, the dismay of a lot of Catholics linked to tradition, the society becomes more and more a point of reference, not only for our faithful, but also for people observing us from outside.

And this conclusion is not because we are better than the others. No, that's not what I meant, but it's because without tradition kept in its integrality, people, they go nowhere, sooner or later, the lack of a doctrinal element, of a liturgical element, of a moral element, will show up and it will bear consequences. So I will try to talk, summarize a little bit the present situation of the society. First of all, we will talk about our present, current relation with Rome. Then I will give you three reasons why the society, as I said, is becoming more and more a point of reference. Our, our communities are growing a lot, all over the world.

About our relation with Rome. What can we say? Because the society had a long negotiation with Rome until 2017. It was a current subject of conversation. Everybody was waiting. What's the next step? Is the society going to be recognized? Is the society going to obtain a Canonical status, a Canonical acknowledgement in the church, in the official church? So this long negotiation had a lot of ups and downs. In 2016 in particular, we heard for the first time from the mouth of a Bishop, was dealing with the society, officially, "Listen after so many years, why should we impose you the council, to accept the council? Since we don't ask people who are going to the parish if they accept the council, why should we, the Vatican, ask you to accept the council?" So you see, we could get the impression that the acceptance of the council was not mandatory anymore. But then the following year, 2017, I don't know what happened.

Out of tiredness, everybody was tired, also in the Vatican. Cardinal Müller now is giving less of orthodoxy even to the Pope. But Cardinal Müller imposed to the society, to accept everything, to accept the council, to accept the new Mass, to accept all the teachings of the popes, even after the council. In other terms, the negotiation went back of 30 years, all of a sudden. A Canonical solution, a Canonical acknowledgement of the society was always submitted to a doctrinal declaration of the society, accepting all these elements and still a Canonical acknowledgement is submitted to this request. Of course, a declaration, a doctrinal declaration that we cannot sign, we couldn't sign and we cannot sign.

So in 2018, we tried to start again, a doctrinal discussion, more free, not necessarily in view of an agreement. But to present, freely, to achieve to present freely our reasons, our question, question of faith. Why there are elements that we cannot accept, errors. We wanted to start again with this discussion. At the same time, we wanted to show that through this discussion, we were recognized in the authority of Rome, of the Pope, because you don't discuss with an authority that you don't recognize. But actually they're not interested about this, at least for the time being. They answered us, "The society as to find first a Canonical status, then we can talk again about doctrine." Yes, you see the problem, the contradiction. A Canonical status is submitted to a doctrinal declaration that we cannot accept.

So we got stuck. We got stuck, but I stress this point. It's not the society that stopped this dialogue. It's Rome. Rome at the present moment, prefer us to procrastinate to another day, another period, when the situation will be more mature, this doctrinal discussion. Why this decision? They realized after so many years, that they didn't manage to convince us. And of course they think that we cannot either convince them. So the discussion for them is not interesting. But for us, it's a question of faith, [inaudible 00:09:12], to give you an example is a question of faith. The Kingship of our Lord' is a question of faith, the liturgical problem, it's a question of faith.

So they prefer to wait, and we have to wait too. So this issue is in the hands of God. Our relation with Rome, we still have relation of course, but not on the doctrinal side. For us, the doctrinal side, is the main one, is the hub of all the other problems. Everything is related to this. So we will wait patiently the occasion to start again with this discussion. Sooner or later, we will have to try again, and our doctrinal position, and the expression of our doctrinal position of tradition, is going on, it's not because we don't discuss it with Rome at the present moment, that through our publication, our conference, is we don't carry on the same struggle. So this particular point is in the Hands of God.

What about the development of the society during this last few years? Many of our chapels, communities all over the world, they had to welcome new faithful. Some communities, now they have double, and others, even more of the faithful they had two or three years ago. And there are even new communities, that they showed up during the COVID crisis. Why? Well, first of all, it was quite easy to understand, the church were closed and the Bishops scared. They imposed restrictions to their priests and to all the priests under their jurisdiction, under their authority, including priests saying the traditional Mass. They imposed for instance, communing the hands, forbidding Communion on the [inaudible 00:12:21].

So at the same time, our priests did all they could to keep our churches open, to assist the faithful, to give the sacraments. We had burials in private homes during the lockdown, not here in the US. They tried to visit the faithful at the hospital, taking some risk also. Our priests, they were free from the authority of the local bishops, and the society of our priests, they have this charisma, this ability to interpret laws, to implement restrictions with the, I would say, common sense. And that allowed, I think, a lot of good that the society could do, according to circumstances. So come before anything else, Supreme [foreign language 00:13:31], I would say in one word, our priest, they were ready. The society was ready for this crisis. They knew already what to do in very different situations.

The restrictions were different in any state, any country. The implementation of restrictions also didn't come at the same time everywhere, but our priests, they were ready. They knew what to do already. I can say I'm proud of them. I'm proud of this. It was a great joy to see, to perceive the zeal of our priest during this crisis. So as a result, the society, as I said, had to welcome new faithful everywhere. And in some new countries also, I mean, countries where the tradition was not known, or very little, well, it exploded during this crisis of COVID, during the lockdown in particular. It's amazing how God is using everything, even COVID. We were so scared of COVID. But God, who allowed COVID, he had his purpose, allowing this virus. God knows how to draw out good even from a virus, an illness.

So we lost some priests, that's the Cross, especially here. We lost, I can say one of our best priests Father [inaudible 00:15:39]. It's a big loss. We have certainly a new intercessor in Heaven. At the same time, God blessed us through this Cross. It is a lesson for the future. We are not going to make anything good with our human perspective only. The development of the society and the service that the society can and provide to the entire church and to every soul, doesn't depend just on our capacity, our abilities, our commitment. We have to keep faithful to our priesthood, to the heritage of the society of Bishop Lefebvre. And then Divine Providence will decide how, when this development of the society, the strife of tradition has to increase again. So obviously the main lesson of this event.

And now there is another reason which is attracting new faith to the society. It's a new reaction to the official teaching of the Pope, of Pope Francis in particular, of course. Pope Benedict represented the last effort, and I would say also the last illusion to interpret the council and continue with tradition. He was really concerned about that. He was seeking a harmony between the period before the council, the council, and this new period, new era of the church after the council. That's why he tried, for instance, to put the old Mass and the new Mass close, one to each other, in order that they could enrich each other, in order to show this continuity between old Mass and new Mass, for instance, where it didn't work. But most of all, we have to understand that Pope Francis doesn't feel this need anymore, doesn't feel this need at all. His is teaching is clear, and I will say a bit raw.

It draws out the last conclusion of the real council, what the council really meant for the church, it's more and more clear. Of course it was clear before also, but now it's becoming much more clear for everybody. On top of that, Pope Francis is touching morals. Amoris Laetitia is touching the doctrine on marriage. So of course, lay people, faithful, they're much more sensitive to such a problem, such a new teaching, than another teaching, or about more, so to speak, intellectual matters. The problem of religious freedom for instance, doesn't touch normal, lay people, normal faithful as a problem concerning marriage. Even if everything is linked, of course, but people are more sensitive. So the reaction is stronger. The awareness of the doctrinal problem is growing among a lot of faithful. This new reaction of course is attracting, is pushing souls and people to tradition. I would say they start to watch tradition with other eyes, with another side, and by consequence, watch The Society of Saint Pius X, with other eyes.

And then there is another reason, a more recent one, that is giving to The Society of Saint Pius X, I don't say a new role, but is showing better and better what The Society of Saint Pius X means to tradition, to the keeping of tradition. And of course this reason is the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes. So we have to spend, I think, few words on this important event. Unfortunately, because of the present [inaudible 00:21:42] linked to the vaccines and other problems, maybe we didn't pay attention enough to the meaning of this Motu Proprio of last July. It doesn't affect The Society of Saint Pius X directly. It affects the Ecclesia Dei communities. And as a consequence of new situation of the Ecclesia Dei community, it has a force repercussion on The Society of Saint Pius X.

Allow me a short foreword. On a personal basis, because of course we are going to talk about the Ecclesia Dei communities. On a personal basis, I have nothing against Ecclesia Dei people, or Ecclesia Dei priests. I do regret their situation, but we have to say when there is an error at the beginning, at the basis, sooner or later, that error will bear consequences, 10 years later, 20 years later, 30 years later. To give an example it's like the marriage of two young people, two teenagers. They want to get married, very young. They're full of illusions, "Full of love," they say, and they don't listen to anybody, especially to the parents. They have no idea of the responsibility they are going to assume.

And of course, they get married and many times, usually, it doesn't work. Sooner or later, a big problem can show up. Why? Because they didn't realize what they are doing. They don't listen. Sorry for this kind of comparison. But I think the Ecclesia Dei communities, they found themselves in the same situation. They are bearing now the consequences of an error they did at the beginning. Of course, we're not here to judge their intentions, but they made a mistake, a big mistake, But again, I have nothing against them on a personal basis. But the paradox is that the Pope himself, if you allow me to use this expression, looks fed up with them. The Pope who is supposed to protect them, it seems doesn't stand them anymore.

First of all, you know that the Ecclesia Dei as such, as a commission, that was meant to protect all the groups, faithful and priest, linked to the traditional Mass, but who, they didn't want to follow the Society of Saint Pius X, well, this commission was meant to protect them. And it was created in 1988. Three years ago, it was suppressed. Not last July, already three years ago. Why? I give you the official explanation? Because the idea of this commission was to reintegrate them in the mainstream of the church. After 30 years, they esteemed, they were reintegrated enough. So they didn't need anymore, in Rome, a special commission protecting them. This is the official explanation.

So we still call them Ecclesia Dei communities, but this name doesn't correspond anymore to a particular reality. Three years later, last July, this Motu Proprio, which shows that not everybody was well reintegrated. And you can see the Pope is not happy at all. Especially if you read the letter of the Pope, which goes with the Motu Proprio, it's an explanation of the Motu Proprio giving us the means, the deep thought, the deep idea of the Pope, he's not happy at all. Why? And here we touch the heart of the problem.

Pope Francis stressed that it cannot stand anymore, the instrumental use of the old Missal. What does he mean? He doesn't tolerate anymore that the old Missal is used as the expression of a spirituality, of a priesthood, of an idea of church, different from the one of the council. It is strictly forbidden to celebrate the old Mass as the expression of a different spirituality. This is the heart of the problem. We go back to the doctrinal problem, a question of faith.

In some particular situation, you could still celebrate the old Mass, provided it's not a parish, and most of all provided, it is clear that don't you stick anymore to any idea of a tradition, different from the one of the Second Council of the Vatican. I can just read few quotations of this letter of the Pope of last July. "I'm saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum is often characterized by rejection, not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican council itself, claiming with unfounded and unsustainable assertions that it betrays the tradition and the true church." This is what we think. And maybe even among Ecclesia Dei people, communities, somebody was thinking in the same way, hopefully.

"Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy, can find in the reformed Roman Missal, according to Vatican council Two, all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular, the Roman Canon, which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements." Well, if the old Mass and the new Mass are the same, where is the problem? See? "A final reason for my decision is this, evermore plain in the words and attitudes of many, is the close connection between the choice of celebration according to the liturgical Books prior to Vatican Council Two, and the rejection of the church, an [inaudible 00:31:03] institution in the name of what is called the true church." Tradition. The [inaudible 00:31:14] to use," our, "Then has been made of this faculty, is contrary to the intention that led to granting the freedom to celebrate the Mass with the Missale Romanum of '62."

And of course, "[Foreign language 00:31:39], "I take the firmer decision to obligate all the norms, instructions, permissions, and customs that precede the present Motu Proprio, and declare that the liturgical Books promulgated by the saintly pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decree of Vatican Council Two constitute the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite." Well, it's quite clear. So in other terms, the traditional Mass, as the expression, I repeat, I stress this point, as the expression of what we stick to, the tradition of the church is not allowed anymore.

Why? We could wonder, why in Rome, eventually they took this decision. I think they felt that something went wrong. Traditional Mass was allowed in order to promote Communion, as they say, to enrich the two Masses, each other, one another. This is the intention most of all of Pope Benedict, but they realize that the old Mass, the celebration of the old Mass generates another conception of liturgy, of the church, of the priests, of Christian life. So as a conclusion, they had to go back, they had to withdraw the permission they had given. If you want to, we can use another expression. The old Mass cannot be used anymore as a banner, as the banner of tradition.

But the problem is that intrinsically the traditional Mass is pushing toward tradition. If a priest is committed, if a priest enter into this rite, into its meaning, sooner or later, he will question himself. He will question the council. So it's more and more clear that the intention, I think, now is important to look backwards. All the concessions, the indulgences that, during these 50 years, that have been made to people who wanted to stick to tradition concerning liturgy in particular, they were a homeopathy. Homeopathy, you try to heal an illness through the same principle of the illness. Like in the vaccine, but this is another issue. So you use the cause of the illness in order to, you give something. You give in a little bit in order to heal what you consider as an illness, as a problem.

But homeopathy doesn't work all the time. We can quote Bishop Roche. You know who is Bishop Roche, he's not just a free thinker, so his thought is an official thought. An official, I would say, interpretation of this reality. Bishop Roche is the present Prefect Of The Congregation Of Worship. He stated a few weeks ago, that Pope John Paul II Ecclesia Dei, and Benedict 16 XVI Summorum Pontificum, I quote, "Were established in order to encourage the Lefebvrists above all, to return to unity with the church." Homeopathy, "I give you something, but the perspective in my mind is not to allow tradition. It's not because I believe in your tradition, I reject this tradition. My purpose is to convince you to join the mainstream of the church."

And I still quote, "It is clear that Traditions Custodes is saying, 'Okay, this experiment has not been and entirely successful.'" Thanks God, "And so time is over. So let us go back to what the Second Vatican Council require of the church.Time is over. Now, we reach such an extent that if we still allow the celebration, freely, the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, the bad effect," so to speak, in their perspective, "Is going to be stronger than the good one. It didn't work, it couldn't work." So it was a parenthesis, another term, it was a parenthesis. It was just a question of time. So for Rome, all these indulgences, they've been a, as I say, homeopathic drug, in order to drag people into the mainstream of the church. And for Ecclesia Dei people, was a mean to give them the illusion they could keep tradition without being persecuted.

What can we say is a conclusion? This use of the Roman Missal, of the old Missal, as a Bishop Roche is describing it. This use is instrumental. This is an instrumental use, the reproach they are making to the ones that, through the traditional Missal, they draw out new conclusion about doctrine, and they are willing to uphold through that Missal a doctrinal statement. That's not an instrumental use. It corresponds to reality, because the Old Mass is a banner of tradition. But this use of the Roman Missal by the Vatican has been an instrumental use, it's not worthy of the church, is not worthy of the church to play with liturgical books.

So as a conclusion. Traditional Mass is our banner, because it's the banner of redemption of the Cross, of the only possible way to sanctify our souls. We prefer to die rather than to lose this banner. And for the [inaudible 00:41:10] this point, I think is important to stress it again, this banner is unique, not only for ourselves, but for the entire church. It's not just a privilege for the Society of Saint Pius X. The Catholic church has only one Mass, because there is only one redemption. And this redemption was expressed, and more, not only expressed, was carried on throughout the history by this Mass.

That's why we stick to this Mass. And we want this Mass, not only for us, not only for our churches, our chapels, for the entire church. You see, they accuse us quite often that we have lost the sense of the church, because we build our churches, the biggest one, the biggest seminary, "Yes, but you build all this for you, and you don't care about the church." This is not true. If we build still the biggest church and the biggest seminary, that's for the church. And if we keep this Mass as unique, that's for the church. Sooner later, we cannot choose the time, unfortunately, only God can do that. Sooner later, this Mass will become, again, the only Mass in the church. Why? In one world, because there is only one redemption.

So the 16th of July was the end, sad end of a long experiment, 30, 40 years of experiment. A last the consideration. How could Bishop Lefebvre take the right decision at the right moment? It's easy for us 50 years later to say, "Yes, he was right." Yes, back in the '80s, back in the '70s, how could Bishop Lefebvre took the right decision at the right moment? How? We see the fruit, we see the result now. It was not so clear at the time.

Well, I think the explanation is quite simple. There is supernatural gift, this capacity to be moved by The Holy Ghost. Even alone, even against everybody, isolated, this sensitivity to what is really the Will of God. It is a sign, I will say infallible sign of Holiness. It is clear more and more now than it was at the time. As I said, we leave present and we leave the future to Divine Providence. And we are sure that Divine Providence as well, has never abandoned us in our struggle, fight for tradition, His not going to abandon us in the middle of this new crisis. Thank you for your attention.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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