Beware of False Mercy

In a conference on January 20, 2015, Cardinal Mardiaga considers that mercy must give a new spirit to the reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council in order to open the Church to today’s world. Mercy without repentance for sins is used for this end; it appears to be nothing else than a complacent look on the sinner and his sins.

In view of the coming Holy Year, it is necessary to discern between this one-sided mercy and true mercy which fully invites to conversion, to the rejection of sin. Our prayers and penances during this year must be an answer to the request of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to Mary at Fatima, whose centenary we will celebrate in 2017. (From Bishop Fellay’s May 2015 – Letter to Friends and Benefactors # 84)

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

It is not necessary to go on at length to note the crisis that our Holy Mother the Church is in. Nevertheless, in recent months there have been a number of worrisome signs suggesting that we are being thrust into an even more intense phase of troubles and confusion.

The loss of unity in the Church is becoming increasingly evident, with respect both to faith and morals on the one hand, and to liturgy and government on the other, and it is safe to assume that we have a very difficult time ahead of us. Short of a miracle, it is to be feared that now souls will be left on their own even more and will no longer find any support from the hierarchy as a whole, although that guidance is necessary.

New mercy to save the conciliar reforms
One example to illustrate what we mean: a conference was given by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator of the group of cardinals to whom Pope Francis entrusted the deliberation about the reform of the Roman Curia. This talk, given on January 20, 2015, at the University of Santa Clara in California, is helpful inasmuch as it offers an insight into the vision that guides the closest advisors of the pope.

The first point is that he intends to carry out his reforms—and by this we should understand the whole set of reforms undertaken since Second Vatican Council—in such a way that they become irreversible. This intention never to go backward is expressed, incidentally, in other passages of the same conference.

However the reforms already carried out are in danger, the Honduran cardinal acknowledges, because they have caused a serious crisis in the Church. The reason for this is that every reform must be animated by a spirit, which is its soul.

Now the conciliar reforms have not respected this principle. On the contrary, they were carried out, he tells us, while leaving the old spirit intact, the traditional spirit, and the result was that some of these reforms were not understood and were hardly ever followed by the effects that the reformers had counted on, to the point of causing a sort of schizophrenia in the Church.

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga asserts that nevertheless we must not go back. In his opinion, a spirit corresponding to the reforms must still be infused, so as to motivate and energize them. This spirit is mercy. And the pope has just announced a Holy Year of Mercy….

True mercy according to the Sacred Heart
What exactly is this about? In itself mercy is a word that is dear to the heart of every Catholic, because it designates the most touching manifestation of God’s love for us. In past centuries the apparitions of the Sacred Heart were nothing but a more intense revelation of this mercy of God toward mankind. The same must be said about devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Nevertheless true mercy, which implies this initial, extremely touching movement of God toward the sinner and His misery, continues in a moment of the creature’s conversion to God: “God desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (cf. Ezek 33:11). Hence the Gospels insist on the duty of conversion, renunciation and penance. Our Lord went so far as to say: “Unless you do penance, you shall all perish” (cf. Lk 13:5).

This call to conversion is the heart of the Gospel, which we find in St. John the Baptist as well as in St. Peter. When sinners, touched by preaching, ask what they must do, they hear only this recommendation: “be converted and do penance.” The Blessed Virgin in her apparitions in recent centuries, both in La Salette and in Lourdes or Fatima, says nothing different: “prayer and penance”.

Now the new preachers of a new mercy insist so much on the first step taken by God toward human beings who are lost because of sin, ignorance and misery that they too often omit this second movement, which must come from the creature: repentance, conversion, the rejection of sin. Ultimately, the new mercy is nothing but complacency about sin. God loves you… no matter what.

New mercy with no repentance
The examples of mercy given by Cardinal Maradiaga unfortunately leave no room for doubt. Thus he asserts that Christians who have broken off their marriage and have started a “blended” family are fully entitled to a place in the life of the Church, with no further ado…. And he even proclaims that those who left the Church while they were in sinful situations will have a heaven equal to that of the saints.

Obviously he reproaches the Church’s ministers for having rebuked these poor sinners…. This is the new mercy, the new spirituality that is supposed to set in stone forever the reforms of the Church’s institutions and morals, both those that have been carried out since the Council and the new ones now being considered! This is extremely serious. But it may also help us to understand why we are so much opposed to what is called “the spirit of the Council”. Indeed, the reforms were introduced in the name of this new spirit, a spirit that is certainly not traditional. We say that this spirit spoiled everything about the Council, even the parts that can be understood in a Catholic way…. This spirit is an adaptation to the ways of the world; it is a complacent view of its falls and temptations, in the name of kindness, mercy and love.

Thus, for example, people no longer say that other religions are false—which is however what the Magisterium of all time has declared. They no longer teach about the dangers of the world, and even the Devil has almost completely disappeared from the Church’s vocabulary during the last 50 years.

This spirit explains the present sufferings of Holy Mother Church, whose authority is diminishing despite her overtures to the world; every day she loses more members, more priests, and finds that she has less influence on contemporary society. Ireland, once so Catholic, where “marriage” between persons of the same sex has just been legalized, is a distressing example.

Can you truncate mercy, cut it off from necessary repentance, as Cardinal Maradiaga does, for the stated purpose of giving a new spirit to the conciliar reforms and breaking with the traditional spirit? Certainly not!

Is he the interpreter of Pope Francis’ thought in this conference that was presented three months before the Bull of Indiction of the Holy Year? It is very difficult to tell, since for two years the messages coming from Rome have been so contradictory, as some cardinals acknowledge privately and several Vatican watchers openly admit.

Necessity to discern between one-sided mercy and true mercy
Must we then deprive ourselves of the graces of a Holy Year? Quite the contrary. When the floodgates of grace are opened wide, we must receive abundantly! A Holy Year is a great grace for all the members of the Church. We live, after all, by true mercy, as all the pages of the Gospel and of the traditional liturgy teach us. In keeping with the “preliminary discernment”[1] on which Archbishop Lefebvre based the conduct of the Society of St. Pius X, in these times of confusion, we reject a one-sided mercy and live by mercy in all its aspects.

A Latin word that we encounter so often and that obviously must be on our lips is miserere. This word indicates, for our part, the acknowledgment of our misery, and then our appeal to God’s mercy. The awareness of our misery makes us ask for forgiveness, fills us with contrition and is accompanied by the intention not to sin again. The true love that inspires this movement causes us to understand the necessity of making reparation for our sins. Hence the expiatory sacrifice is satisfactory.

These various movements are necessary for the conversion that obtains the forgiveness of the God of mercy, who—in truth—does not want the death of the sinner but that he be converted and live. The claim to eternal happiness is completely illusory in someone who is unwilling to break with his sinful habits and does not seriously want to flee the occasions of sin or to make a resolution not to start sinning again.

Preaching a sort of mercy without the necessary conversion of poor sinners would be a message devoid of meaning for heaven, a diabolical trap that would tranquilize the world in its folly and its increasingly open rebellion against God, whereas heaven is quite positive about it: “God is not mocked” (Gal 6:7).

The lives of human beings in the world today are calling down the wrath of God on every side. The massacre of innocent children in their mother’s wombs, by the millions, the legalization of unnatural unions, and euthanasia are crimes that cry out to Heaven, not to mention all sorts of injustices….

Mercy according to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Let us take this appeal to mercy seriously, as the inhabitants of Nineveh did! Let us go in search of the lost sheep, let us pray for the conversion of souls, let us perform as much as we can all the works of mercy, both material and especially the spiritual works, for there is a serious shortage of the latter.

If Our Lady could say, more than a century ago, that it was all she could do to hold back the avenging arm of her Son… what would she say today?

As for us, dear brothers and sisters in the Faith, we must take advantage of this Holy Year to ask the God of mercy for an ever deeper conversion to holiness and implore the graces and pardons of His infinite mercy.

We will prepare for the centennial of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima by practicing devotion to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and propagating it with all our strength, as she demanded. We will keep begging that her requests, particularly the consecration of Russia, will at last be properly carried out.

There is no opposition between these thoughts turned toward Mary and the Year of Mercy, on the contrary! Let us not separate what God wants to see joined: the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as Our Lord explained to Sister Lucy of Fatima.

Every district of the Society will inform you of the particular works to be performed in order to benefit from all the graces that Divine Mercy will grant us during this Holy Year.

And in this way we will offer as well as possible our collaboration with the merciful will of God to save all people of good will.

May Our Lord bless you for your generosity and, on this Pentecost Sunday, grant to you abundantly His graces of faith and charity.

+ Bernard Fellay

Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 2015

1. In practice our attitude should be based on a previous discernment (…): when the pope says something that is consistent with Tradition, we follow him; when he says something that goes contrary to our Faith, or he encourages or lets something be done that harms our Faith, then we cannot follow him! The fundamental reason for this is that the Church, the pope, and the hierarchy are at the service of the Faith. I tis not they who make the Faith; they must serve it. The Faith is not being created, it is unchangeable, it is transmitted.”
They Have Uncrowned Him, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Angelus Press, 1988: Chapter XXXI, p. 229.

(With thanks to the Society of St. Pius X)

Sister Josefa Menendez and the Way of Divine Love

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an essential part of the message of Fatima, and this devotion is complemented and enriched by devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, because these two hearts are inseparable. Just a few years after Our Lady of the Rosary’s apparitions at Fatima, Our Lord Himself began appearing to Sister Josefa Menendez in the Convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Poitiers, France from 1920 through 1923 when she died. Sister Josefa’s compilation of these visits is known as The Way of Divine Love  and is a very beneficial addition to our spiritual arsenal.

I will reveal My love to them more and more
I will reveal My love to them more and more

Sister Josefa’s book, The Way of Divine Love  has proved to be a worthwhile supplement to our devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. It has an endorsement by Pope Pius XII. I strongly recommend it! Here is a good excerpt from it, although almost any page would have yielded a similar result, it is that packed with beautiful inspirations! From pages 213-215:

“Write for My souls…The soul who constantly unites her life with Mine glorifies Me and does a great work for souls. Thus, if engaged on work of no value in itself…if she bathes it in My Blood or unites it to the work I myself did during My mortal life, it will greatly benefit souls … more perhaps, than if she had preached to the whole world … and that, whether she studies, speaks or writes … whether she sews, sweeps or rests … provided first that the act is sanctioned by obedience or duty and not done from mere caprice; and secondly that it is done in intimate union with Me, with great purity of intention and covered with My Blood.

“I so much want souls to understand this! It is not the action itself which is of value; it is the intention with which it is done. … I have many hidden souls who in their humble labors are very useful workers in My vineyard, for they are moved by love, and they know how to cover their deeds with supernatural gold by bathing them in My Blood. My love goes so far that My souls can draw great treasure out of mere nothing. When as soon as they wake they unite themselves to Me and offer their whole day with a burning desire that My Heart may use it for the profit of souls … when with love they perform their duties, hour by hour and moment by moment … how great is the treasure they amass in one day!

“I will reveal My love to them more and more … it is inexhaustible, and how easy it is for a loving soul to let itself be guided by love.”

The following day, Our Lord told Sister Josefa:

“I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My Heart … and how great is the value of a divinized day! … When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult … let her then come to My Heart to revive her courageLet her offer Me her dejection and unite it to My fervor; then she may rest content, for her day will be of incomparable value to souls. All human miseries are known to My Heart, and My compassion for them is great. …

“But I desire souls to unite themselves to Me not only in a general way. I long for this union to be constant and intimate as it is between friends who live together, for even if they are not talking all the time, at least they look at each other, and their mutual affectionate little kindnesses are the fruit of their love.

“… But if she (soul) is in the throes of desolation and anguish, she need not fear. I am content with a glance, I understand and this mere look will draw down on her special proofs of My tenderness. I will repeat again to souls how My Heart loves them for I want them to know Me thoroughly that they may make me known to those I place in their care.

“I ardently desire My chosen souls to fix their eyes on Me and never turn them away .. and among them there should be no mediocrity, which usually is the result of a misunderstanding of My love. No! It is neither difficult nor hard to love My Heart, but on the contrary, it is sweet and easy. They need do nothing extraordinary to attain a high degree of love: purity of intention, be the action great or small … intimate union with My Heart and love will do the rest.”

Once I discovered, by God’s grace, Our Lady of Fatima’s true message, I struggled mightily with the task of offering my daily duties as reparation, but quickly became discouraged due to my easily distracted nature. And then, once again by praying to Sister Lucia to help me, I discovered Sister Josefa’s marvelously simple “Way of Divine Love” and it has profited me immensely! I wish I could express to you how valuable this book is and hope that by reading the above excerpt you will be inclined to obtain a copy. It is also available as a Kindle download. Both versions are reasonably priced.

Now here is a neat coincidence: Sister Josefa was Spanish and her sister Angela entered the Carmel of Coimbra and I have read that she was Mistress of Novices when Sister Lucia entered the Carmel! Wouldn’t you love to have been able to be a “fly on the wall” at their meetings!

The message of The Way of Divine Love  is balanced between its sacrificial nature and the peace and joy of total oblation to the will of God; the diabolical attacks, the descents into Hell itself, the great suffering, but also the peace and joy that came from total oblation to the will of God, total union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thus, Sister Josefa’s messages comply perfectly with Sister Lucia’s. And isn’t that what we all want – to progress towards total Consecration, total oblation of ourselves to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

We are now going through such challenging times and I believe that Pope Francis has yet more misery in store for us in his “Year of Mercy”; but we have been given such tremendous blessings! We know that the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus will sustain us and our loved ones and that they have provided us with a safe passage through the chaos and the shortest path to union with them.

New Evangelization and the Year of Mercy

On 13 March this year, Pope Francis announced his Extraordinary Year of Mercy, to begin 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At this time, he said, “I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.”

In an earlier post, I showed how the “New Evangelization” is being implemented in our diocese. In our diocese, the New Evangelization is an attack on the traditional dogma and practice of the faith, labelling Catholics who choose not to attend homosexual “marriages” as hostile and accusing them of sin.

“Misericordiae Vultus”, Pope Francis’ s Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary “Jubilee of Mercy”   advances the this pontiff’s agenda for an irreversible paradigm shift in the church. In it, he repeats the words of Pope John XXIII opening Vatican II, “Now the Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine of mercy rather than taking up arms of severity…” and those of Pope Paul VI on closing the Council, “We prefer to point out how charity has been the principal religious feature of this Council … the old story of the Good Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the Council … a wave of affection and admiration flowed from the Council over the modern world of humanity. …The modern world’s values were not only respected but honoured, its efforts approved, its aspirations purified and blessed … Another point we must stress is this: all this rich teaching is channeled in one direction, the service of mankind

There you have it, in a nutshell so to speak, “The modern world’s values not only respected but honored, and all of this … in one direction, the service of mankind.” Truly befitting this new religion of man.

John Vennari at Catholic Family News has some insight on this:

It is thus fitting to recall the keen observation of Professor Romano Amerio in his brilliant work Iota Unum, where Amerio exposes John XXIII’s sentimental sophism as follows:

“The attitude to be adopted in regard to error is on the other hand a definite novelty, and is openly announced as being a new departure for the Church. The Church, so the Pope says, is not to set aside or weaken its opposition to error, but ‘she prefers today to make use of the medicine of mercy, rather than of the arms of severity.’ She resists error ‘by showing the validity of her teaching, rather than by issuing condemnations.’ This setting up of the principle of mercy as opposed to severity ignores the fact that in the mind of the Church the condemnation of error is itself a work of mercy, since by pinning down error those laboring under it are corrected and others are preserved from falling into it. Furthermore, mercy and severity cannot exist, properly speaking, in regard to error, because they are moral virtues which have persons as their object, while the intellect recoils from error by the logical act that opposes a false conclusion. Since mercy is sorrow at another’s misfortune accompanied by a desire to help him, the methods of mercy can only be applied to the person in error, whom one helps by confuting his error and presenting him with the truth; and can never be applied to his error itself, which is a logical entity that cannot experience misfortune. Moreover, the Pope reduces by half the amount of help that can be offered, since he restricts the whole duty of the Church regarding the person in error to the mere presentation of the truth: this is alleged to be enough in itself to undo the error, without directly opposing it. The logical work of confutation is to be omitted to make way for a mere didas-calia [direct instruction] on the truth, trusting that it will be sufficient to destroy error and procure assent. – Iota Unum, Chapter 4, “The Course of the Council,” emphasis added.

As the Pope and his allies in the wrecking crew continue with their new evangelization, we must not turn away and hide, but increase our efforts to be informed and reach out to other Catholics, alerting them to the errors being promoted and assisting them in resisting and in developing a healthy traditional Catholic spirituality.

Consider obtaining a supply of materials on the Message of Fatima, the Rosary, Brown Scapular, Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Way of Divine Love and First Saturdays Devotion. In addition, follow solidly Catholic Newspapers and Blogs like Catholic Family News, The Remnant Newspaper and the Blogs on my sidebar. The Fatima Center also has solid, dependable information regarding Fatima and most of the above devotions, and I especially recommend Christopher Ferrara’s Fatima Perspectives. You must be informed in order to help others, and you must be spiritually solid in order to assist others strengthen their souls.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us all, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.