What Priests Can Do
By Father Patrick Perez
I‘ve been asked to speak specifically on what priests can do in their ministries and in their parishes, wherever that takes them, to further the Message of Fatima and the Consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. So I do have some things to share with you. This will build on what Father Gruner has been proposing in his talks of the last couple of days. You have many ideas of your own, of course, of what priests and bishops can do to further the cause of spreading devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and making Her messages to the world known, loved and obeyed.
Each of Us Needs a Specific Plan
Every person here, according to his position in the Church and his sphere of influence, should first of all formulate some sort of a plan of action with objectives that are both real and realizable. I think that is probably one of the very first things we have to do. It’s all good and well for a lot of people to say “yeah, we have to promote Fatima” but without a plan it’s not going to happen. The plan varies according to our situations, but you have to have one. And you have to stick with it and implement it or this will never happen. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. All that is true because we have the good intentions to do things but without a plan they are never realized. So the first is, whatever your situation, whatever your sphere of influence or ministry in the Church, make a plan that is doable. That is real and realizable.
The Fundamental Framework of Your Plan
In his talks of the past two days Father Gruner has proposed a framework for this. A movement of clergy and laity alike, to further the dissemination of the Fatima Message and cause. One could hardly do better than this. Father has obviously thought long and hard on this particular framework and I just want to renew the points of that because I am going to add certain things to this framework proposed by Father Gruner. Some of the things Father proposes would be:
- Praying the Five Decades of the Rosary each day for this particular intention;
- Wearing the Brown Scapular at all times;
- Doing our duty in a spirit of penance and sacrifice to God, to Jesus in His Sacred humanity, to the Mother of God, to the Church, to our vows, and to the truth;
- Learning all we can about the Message of Fatima, including all the things that were spoken of by Our Lady and Our Lord to Lucy in the various places after the apparitions of Fatima themselves;
- Acquainting others with true contents of the Message;
- Preaching on those messages and, so forth;
- Defending the Message against falsification and disparagement by its enemies;
- Doing everything else in our power, no matter how small or great our influence in the Church and without fear of any loss of prestige or human respect, to ensure that the Message is known, understood, appreciated and above all obeyed.
Further Explanation of the Framework
This is the framework proposed by Father Gruner and what I wanted to do was just put a little spin on some of the requirements of this movement. Father was very careful not to make it an association with rigid requirements and membership, and things like that, because anybody who does these things is part of this movement by definition, and it is much better that way.
Upon closer examination, you will find that some of these conditions, themselves, involve greater obligations — the fine print as it were —like the conditions for obtaining indulgences. We all know because we talk about them. I’m addressing myself more really, although there are a significant number of laity here, to my Lord Bishops and to my fellow priests as being the ones who will primarily implement these things. There is the fine print as with indulgences. We preach indulgences and we say “oh yes, and the usual conditions”, right? So you read the fine print in the usual conditions and you get to the one, “Freedom from attachment to all sin, including venial.” Now, this is very substantial fine print for conditions. Because you try doing that one! This is why indulgences aren’t just flying left and right in the Church, because of these other conditions that must be met.
Now like that, Father’s proposed movement also has some conditions that must be met for his movement to be effective, for it to bear fruit in our ministries, and to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish. The first two conditions are praying the Five Decades of the Rosary each day and wearing the Brown Scapular at all times. I’m sure we all do that already. I couldn’t imagine going out without a Scapular on, I’d have to return home to get it. I’m speaking first of those things we do normally.
Part of the third condition is: “doing our duty in a spirit of penance and sacrifice to God and Jesus and His humanity to the Mother of God, to the Church”; these involve the Divine life of the soul in the realm of the supernatural. Here we must call to mind the words of Our Lord to Sister Lucy on February 15, 1926. Remember this occurred in a little courtyard where Sister Lucy went down to empty out the garbage and she sees a little boy. The boy reveals Himself as Jesus, and then she recognized Him and said “My Jesus you know what my confessor said to me in the letter I read to You, that the vision had to be repeated and there had to be facts permitting us to believe it, and the Mother Superior alone could not spread this devotion.” And Jesus answered: “It is true that the Mother Superior alone can do nothing but with My Grace She can do anything.”
With God's Grace We Can Do Everything
The first thing to remember about what we are proposing in the Fatima Movement of Priests, is that none of us can do anything by ourselves, but with God’s grace we can do everything. So it is God’s grace that we must keep in front of us, first and foremost, and preach.
I would propose, therefore, that one of the cornerstones of our Fatima Apostolate, behind the conditions that Father laid out — not as an added condition to what Father proposes, but as something that we must do for our Apostolate to bear fruit — we must have an excellent understanding of, a fervent devotion to, a love of, and a high estimation of the concepts of supernatural life and sanctifying grace. This in itself may take some effort on our part because of the great ignorance on the part of both laity and clergy of this and other essential points of Catholic Doctrine.
In short, what are we talking about? We, lose track of this, we must remember, that the life of Heaven is not natural to man. It is something that God grants as an addition to the nature of man: it is supernatural, that is, it is above our nature. The promise to men to be able to see God face-to-face is something that is a pure gift of God, that is not proper to our normal condition, especially because we are born in Original Sin, separated from Him. In fact, we are born God’s enemies. Baptism changes that. So the first is the concept of supernatural life as something not proper to us or our condition that God Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity, died to make possible for us and to add to our nature out of a pure love for us. We can hardly understand except by seeing how much it meant to Him that He did what He did in order to make it possible for us.
The other is the concept of Sanctifying Grace. Sanctifying Grace is a condition made possible only by Baptism. In the Old Testament, people were justified by another means. Since Our Lord died to found the Church, Sanctifying Grace happens by Baptism. When we are baptized, the Holy Trinity lives in our soul as the life of the soul. Without it, supernatural life is not possible. It is not possible because if you took somebody without sanctifying grace and tried to relocate them to Heaven, they couldn’t live there. They would not have what it takes to live in Heaven.
Priceless Pearl: Sanctifying Grace
Only Sanctifying Grace that comes with Baptism and later is renewed by the Sacraments of Penance and strengthened by the grace of receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, makes us able to live in Heaven. That’s what gives our soul supernatural life which can then be cut off by Mortal Sin, or lessened by Venial Sin. But Sanctifying Grace must be there for the life of Heaven. Without that, the soul is dead and incapable of living in the presence of God. So that’s one thing that we absolutely must preach. We have to get people to love Sanctifying Grace, to appreciate what it is, to want to hang on to it with both hands and both feet and never let go of it. And that’s basic.
Things are different in every country. I remember being in a church awhile back in the United States, and a priest was in the confessional. Now it’s hard to find a priest that actually sits in the confessional, in many parishes it’s by appointment only. However, this one priest was in the confessional and nobody was in his line. There was nobody going to Confession, but afterwards, every Sunday, everybody went to Communion. He had enough and he accused them of pretending that they were Immaculate Conceptions. One would get that impression. Why?
Because they have no concept, for the most part, of Sanctifying Grace and what an extraordinary thing it is, what a treasure. It is the pearl and all else must be abandoned for that one pearl, as it says in the Bible. This may take some effort on our part.
Our Duty to the Truth
The third condition says, “doing our duty in a spirit of penance,” and also, the last part, “doing our duty to the truth.” We are being asked in this movement to do our duty not only to the Message of Fatima but to the truth with a capital T. Now many ask in this day and age, as Pontius Pilate did many years ago, “truth? What is that?” And there was Truth standing right in front of him that he couldn’t see. Doing our duty to the truth clearly involves knowing what the truth is. In general, truth is what is, what really is. Truth is reality. It is outside of ourselves. Truth is a reality which is so, no matter whether we choose to believe it or not, whether we like it or not. We can’t change truth because our perception may be in our heads. But our duty is to find what really is. Because to live in a situation, to live with a condition where we are attached only to our perceptions and not to finding what really is, is a kind of madness. It’s an insanity. So, commitment to the truth, what is outside of ourselves, what is.
In general then, God is truth. The dogmatic statements and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are Divine truths, expression of the Divine nature and will. If you want to know as much truth as possible, you study the teachings of the Church. There it is in front of you. What is it? There it is, the Popes, and the bishops in union with the Popes, have been proclaiming it since St. Peter, and it is there for all to know and all to see, and all to believe.
We Must Study Dogma
So if we are to do our duty to the truth, we must spend some time learning as much of it as possible. How could we say we’re going to be devoted to the truth if we are not interested in occupying some of our waking moments discovering what that is. And my dear Lord Bishops and priests, you know that the teaching of the truth through the Church is inexhaustible. We have no business watching television and that kind of thing. I know, unfortunately, some of you live in countries where it’s not legal to own guns. But if you do live in one where you can, take your television out to a field and execute it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and shooting your television is the beginning of a spiritual life. So, an essential part of this process, already unpopular in our time, is a commitment to not only finding the truth, but submitting our hearts and minds to that truth.
|An essential part of this process, is a commitment to not only finding the truth, but submitting our hearts and minds to that truth.|
Reason and Salvation
My dear people, we have lost the sense of rationality and reason, and the part that reason plays in the salvation of every man. God gave us our reason principally to find Him. Now we can use it to do that or we can throw our reason away. But we, when we are looking for the truth, once we find it, must submit ourselves to it. We have to say “if that is truth, if that is an expression of what is, then in humility, I submit my will, my intellect, my soul, my heart to that finding of intellect of reason.”
Avoid the spirit of feminist irrationality and emotionalism which is already destroying our societies and even our Church. There are women in the Church who have no business being where they are. They’re using their feminism to try to gain roads into places where men should be ruling the church and directing the church and the parishes. They have no business there. They are using emotionalism and irrationality and influencing the clergy and the hierarchy with their nonsense. We cannot have that. We must keep things in the proper order.
You know there is a triumph of emotionalism and irrationality that comes from this, to the point where we could lay the essentials before people and they will say “well, I agree with that”. And “Yes, I follow your argument but I don’t just feel that way.” Well, if what they don’t feel that way about is the conclusion of the teaching of the Church and of finding God, then in not feeling that way they have chosen damnation over salvation. They have refused to use their God-given intellect to arrive at salvation, which God gave them, principally, to do that with. So, two and two is still four and it doesn’t matter if you are having a bad hair day, it is still four. And it doesn’t matter how you feel about it.
This search for absolute truth, finding it and submitting oneself to it, will probably include a thorough study of what it means to be Catholic, what the Church teaches and what the Church has always taught.
Truth Does Not Change!
You talk to some people and they have this notion that the teaching of the Church is somehow a democratic process. That, “well we’ve taught this then but now a lot of us feel this other way which just happens to be the opposite and so we were thinking this is how we believe now because its more democratic.” You will find when you start investigating what it is the Church teaches, that the Church has always taught that. There is nothing new. If you look Pius XII defined the Assumption of Our Lady. But you know what? I have missals from the 16th Century even before Trent that have a Feast of the Assumption. The Popes don’t just say “well I had this great idea this morning, I’m going to define this thing.” No. It’s because we have always taught it that these things get defined.
If someone has problems with that, if once you start as your commitment to the truth, once you start reading what the Church has always taught, read the Council of Trent, the greatest Council in the history of the Church. Read that. And if you find yourself bristling a little bit at the teachings, at the language of the definitions, then you’ll understand the Third Secret of Fatima. That’s what it was talking about.
But if you find yourself bristling at teachings such as “outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation,” then you will understand the Third Secret of Fatima because we are in a general apostasy, at the moment, which the Third Secret speaks about. So that is related to Fatima as well. But when you read these things, realize that’s what the Church has always taught, and have the humility to at least try to submit your wills to this thing that may be new for you.
"The Charity of Christ Urges Us"
Next, remember that there are motivations for the Fatima Apostolate, why Father Gruner has sacrificed everything he has for this, and why we’re here. My dear Lord Bishops, my dear fellow priests, and my dear lay people, I have no doubt that everyone is here because they love Our Mother Mary. On this, Her Feast, the Feast of the Motherhood of Mary, the maternity of Mary, that’s today. I was praying about that this morning. I have no doubt that whatever our backgrounds or our particular place, that all of you are here because of love of Our Lady. The reason why Father has done what he has done and we’re doing what we’re doing boils down to the greatest of virtues. And that is charity. Remember, there are three: faith, hope and charity. And the greatest of these is charity.
Now, what is charity? Because we suffer in the English language from awful translations of these things, and they say faith, hope and love. It isn’t faith, hope and love. It is faith, hope and charity. In Latin there is both. Amor is love and caritas is charity and they are different although caritas is a specific kind of amor. Charity is the theological virtue, one of three: faith, hope and charity. It is the theological virtue that allows us to love God above all things, with our whole mind and our whole soul and our whole heart, for His own sake. And to love our neighbor as ourselves, for love of God.
There is always the dimension of God in charity. You cannot have charity for chocolate. You can have love for chocolate. You can love chocolate, I’ll admit that in a certain way, in the way the English language goes. That’s why you can’t confuse love and charity. Because charity has that dimension of God. You love God because of what He is, with your whole being; and you love your neighbor because it is a Divine Commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, and for obedience to that Commandment, that is what we do.
Charity For All
So, Father Gruner does what he does for this charity, for the people on earth. That’s why we’re doing what we are doing. Look at it. If Our Lady and Our Lord’s wishes are not obeyed, if Russia is not consecrated to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart by the Pope and the bishops, this will mean great disaster, anguish and loss of souls for many in our extended human family. We have to have this, this sense of family in the human race, in order to really give that dimension of charity to it. You know, when I meet people, I’m conscious all the time. They’re a distant cousin. I love my immediate family and I know what it is to love family.
So it is very natural for me when I remember that you are distant cousins because we are children of Adam and Eve, every one of us from the same parents, that I have this charitable love for you — even a natural love for you — because you are part of my family. When somebody is difficult they are our eccentric cousins. You know, we all have those in the family but we never are uncharitable to them because somebody is difficult.
And so, love of our neighbor as our self, for love of God means that we must do all we can do to avoid the impending disasters that will happen if Our Lady and Our Lord’s wishes, as expressed to Sister Lucy and the others, are not implemented. There is an urgency to this in charity and that’s why we are doing it. We’re not doing it because we need some things to do. Father Gruner has no lack of things to do. With Father Gruner it wasn’t “well do I do needlepoint and crochet or the Fatima thing?” No. He realized that Our Lady had formed him by what he is and who he is for this Apostolate and for love of everyone on earth, and Our Lady and Our Lord above all. He gave himself to it.
Keep in mind, as well the greatest act of charity you can have for another is, if they’re in the faith, to get them to appreciate Sanctifying Grace. If they’re outside of the faith, the greatest act of charity of love for them is to convert them to the Church, to the Catholic Faith.
One True Church
Christ Died to Found His
We are all familiar with the words, “Russia will be converted.” But I really wonder what some think this means. What do some people think Russia will be converted to? Conversion to strict vegetarianism and peace-loving ecological awareness? No? The conversion Our Lady speaks of is to the one true Church. There is only one true Church. Christ died to found a Church, which is ours. The one we belong to. Our Lady desires and Our Lord desires the conversion of Russia to the Catholic faith because Our Lady knows that’s the Church Her Son died to found. Her Divine Son gave His last drop of Blood on a cross, as She watched, for that Church. Never mind this Protestant idea of doing an end run around the Church.
Christ founded the Church and gave the Church the business of saving souls. People are not allowed to go directly and say “here I have the Bible, I’m going to go save myself.” That’s not how Christ set it up. It is the Church that is entrusted with saving the souls and you cannot do an end run around that.
And so the conversion Our Lady speaks of, and Our Lord speaks of, of Russia, is to none other than the Catholic Faith, outside of which neither Jew nor Hindu nor Buddhist nor Muslim nor Orthodox nor Protestant can or will be saved. Remember, again, to beware of sentimentality and false ecumenism, which of late has swept through every level of our Church. There’s real ecumenism.
Beware of Sentimentality
Here’s the spirit of real ecumenism. Imagine there is a plague sweeping through our continent. It is 100% fatal. Now we can call that the plague of worldliness and mortal sin. But let’s say it’s a plague caused by germs and a scientist finds the cure. He is the only person with the cure for that plague and he tells the world: “I give you this cure but you have to come to me to get it. It’s a simple fact. I’m not being arrogant.” Is it arrogant of that doctor if he has the only cure for that plague to tell people that that is so? No, that’s truth and that’s charity. That is real ecumenism. The Church founded by Christ has the cure, has the solution, has the means of eternal life that no one else possesses, and it gives it freely. In fact, freely in a sense, but at the cost of its missionaries and martyrs.
So beware of the sentimentality. One of the worst things that I ever experienced in my life was to see Pope John Paul II on the news, I watched a clip of it on the Internet service. He gets off the airplane in Jerusalem and says “I am not here to convert you.” Well I would have said “Your Holiness, then why don’t you go back home? Because it is your office to convert these people. It is charity to convert these people.” And if the Holy Father himself is saying dumb things like “I’m not here to convert you” what about the rest of us? If that’s what’s become of our hierarchy where it’s simply an I’m ok, you’re ok, let’s pretend that those going to hell really aren’t, is that charity? No, that’s not charity. Our Lady is affirming what the Church has long taught, that the only true peace is the peace of Christ in a Catholic social order.
Catholic Social Order
What has become of Catholic social teaching? Right through the last century we had the great encyclicals like Quas Primas and these that defined a plan for the world in a Catholic social order. Now why is social order important to be mentioned now? Because you should know Catholic social teaching, because when Russia is converted that is going to be the model for the world. It will be a Catholic social order and Catholic social teaching that Holy Mother Russia will defuse through the earth. And it would be a good thing to know how that is supposed to work.
A Simple Suggestion
Now one final thing I would propose just where possible, this is a little thing, but I think it would be useful. And once again it’s not possible in every situation. It’s a suggestion for if it is possible in your situation. And that is, we need to affect a resurrection. I propose a resurrection of the Leonine prayers after Mass. For those who have never heard of them, Pope Leo XIII, on January 6, 1884, decreed certain prayers to be said everywhere after Low Mass to a resolution to the Roman question. What was the Roman question? Well, the Freemasons had orchestrated the stealing of the Papal States and the imprisonment of the Holy Father in the Vatican. And this was somewhat of an urgent situation. You heard about the Popes who were prisoners of the Vatican?
So to find some sort of resolution with the Freemasonic government of Italy of the time, the Pope proposed these particular prayers. Well there was a settlement reached between the Vatican and the government on the 11th of February, 1929. So, the Pope then, who was Pope Pius XI, on June 30, 1930 changed the intention of the prayers to prayers for the conversion of Russia.
Now this had nothing to do with the Fatima Message specifically. It was because, as we heard yesterday in one of the talks of the great persecution that was going on in Russia, where they were gathering up priests and bishops, the Catholic ones, and shooting them. And because of this great persecution, Pius XI proposed the Leonine prayers for this intention, since the Roman question had been resolved to be switched to that.
Now on September 26, 1964, even before the end of the Second Vatican Council, the Leonine prayers were suppressed by Paul VI. So, they’re not there anymore, obligatorily. But we can resurrect these prayers, and say them after Mass. What you do is, you finish celebrating Mass, you kneel in front of the altar and you say these prayers. You can say the prayers in any language that you want to: Three Hail Mary’s, Hail Holy Queen, and the prayer:
“O God, our Refuge and our Strength, look down with favor upon Thy people who cry unto Thee, and through the intercession of the Glorious and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Joseph Her spouse, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, do Thou mercifully and graciously hear the prayers which we put forth for the conversion of sinners and for the freedom and exaltation of Our Holy Mother the Church through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.” And then recite the Prayer to Saint Michael.
If we offer those prayers for the intention of the Holy Father consecrating Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, that will be a resurrection, not only of the prayers, but a renewed purpose which they have not had since 1964.
A precedent for this, by the way, one of the dioceses I am familiar with in the United States, Mobile, Alabama, the bishop required that after every Mass they say the Divine praises. Divine praises being, Blessed be God, Blessed be His Holy Name, those things, as protection against hurricanes. Now the new Vatican II bishop, you know, came in there and thought he knew better than his predecessors, as they sometimes like to do, so he cancelled them. And the year after he cancelled them, the city was wiped out by a hurricane. Devastated, not completely razed, but devastated by a hurricane for the first time in living memory. So he quickly put them back where they used to be and they haven’t suffered a hurricane strike since. But there is precedent for doing this kind of thing. Priests are allowed to do it, bishops are allowed to tell their priests to do this kind of thing after Mass for a particular intention.
My dear friends, do these things and we will be part of the solution, refuse them and we become part of the problem. It’s that simple.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Our Divine Mother, pray for us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.