Bishop Fellay – Ordinations 2006 – Winona, MN

I have left this text with His Lordship. As usual, should any Society superior request a correction, it will be done. I typed while he spoke, so it is 95% verbatim, with some idiomatic corrections for English, and 100% verbatim regarding anything he said about Rome. Photos for the ceremony can be found on, but will not be up until later this afternoon.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

My dear brethren, this very day, this very Friday in which we are today, has been chosen personally by God the Son Himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may celebrate His heart. His Sacred Heart. We have to see in it one of these stunning interventions of God into the history of mankind. This feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on this Friday, just after this octave of Corpus Christi by indication of the Sacred Heart Himself. It is not just by “good luck,” but by the will of God.

And on this very same day today, we receive from the Sacred Heart another pledge, another demonstration of His mercy: one deacon, four priests. But I think, my dear brethren, as Divine Providence makes the link between the Sacred Heart and Ordinations Day, let us try to follow this same path in these reflections…trying to understand somehow what is a priest, what is a deacon.

I may say, it is not difficult to follow these two mysteries which are in front of us – the Holy Eucharist and the Sacred Heart.

The feast of the Holy Eucharist was already introduced as a strengthening of the faith and of charity in a time when both were already in danger – in the Middle Ages. But to give to the veneration, to the adoration of mankind this so-stupendous sign of the love of God which is the Holy Eucharist is not sufficient. There is a coldness…there is a cold in the evolution of mankind which we may say…”forced”…God to go one step further and to not only give under a sign His love – indeed He had to make it even flesh. This gift, this infinite love of God which is resting, dwelling in this Heart, is to warm us up, to shape in us his charity, his love.

I may say, we want to understand the priest. We have to understand that he participates very deeply, very intimately in both these mysteries – in the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist. We could say today Our Lord gives us visible hearts. His visible heart (gestures to priests), these priests. The priest is another Jesus. And like the Eucharist we know Jesus is really there. We don’t see Him, but faith tells us that He is there. So when we see the priest, we have to apply the same faith and say “Jesus is there.” And, of course the presence of Jesus in the priest is not in the same mode that we find him substantially in the Eucharist. He is present by an instrumental way, but we have to say there is a real presence, and especially, during the sacraments. You see a Mass, you see a priest at the altar, and the Faith tells us, there is a real priest acting at the altar as Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

It is not a picture, it is not an idea or concept. It is a reality. At every Mass, the unique and sovereign Priest is really present and making and doing this sacrifice to which we are associated in which we participate, the Mass, which is done in the visible way by the priest. He is in this very moment an instrument in the hands of the Principal Cause – Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

We say that the priest is acting “in the person of Christ” and in saying His words “this is my body” it is indeed the priest who says it – and he says it with all his intelligence, reason, and will. He looks at this piece of bread and says "This is my body" and while he says that, he very well knows that this “my” is not his. He very well knows that this “my” belongs to somebody else. To somebody else who is in him and has taken his reason, his understanding his will. It belongs to Jesus. And it is because of the might (power) that goes through his words at this moment that is the infinite might of God, that these words will have this tremendous effect of producing in reality what they mean.

This might (power) you find only in God’s words and God’s mouth. It shows us there how present Jesus is in his priests. And I have to say the same for Confession.

You go to confession, you don’t go to Father So-and-So, you go to Jesus. Of course, on the other side, you will hear Father So-and-So, the one who will absolve and give you the penance, etc.. will be Father So-and-So. But the one who is forgiving your sins, cleansing your soul, giving you grace, is Jesus himself. You go to see the priest, you meet Jesus, really, like in the host.

And I may say this of course has an influence on you and your life. And if we want to try to understand how far it goes, we may look at the Sacred Heart.

Why did Our Lord come on earth? Why was He made a priest? To save souls. That’s His mission. Propter nostram salutis et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis – we say it in the creed – that is the reason of his whole life on earth - to save souls. Why does he make you a priest? Exactly to fulfill this mission, nothing less and nothing more. Save souls. And your whole priesthood is there. In this intention of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In this mission of the Word of God made flesh. It goes so far that God does not simply want to delegate you, give you a mission, he wants you to participate, through a character, in His hypostatic union – the union of the Word of God with a human nature.

He wants you to participate in this – this character imprinted in your soul – in part for the deacon, in much greater part for the priest – this unites you to the priesthood of Our Lord

When we say you are priests, it has a meaning, it is not just a nice word – it is a tremendous reality. And it is not for you. It is for souls and for God. God wants to save these souls for Him – to share to diffuse into these souls His charity. And what is the means for this work? He could have used thousands of ways – indeed we may say He is using thousands of ways – but the one He uses the most, the most efficient is charity.

He gave commandments to help us. He says the highest commandment is charity. The one that summarizes everything. And that is not sufficient so He comes to us and dies for us and says that there is no greater love than to give one’s life for another. And He does that on the Cross – and we may say it is sufficient – but more than sufficient – He wants as a surplus a lance to open his side and his heart – to make it visible and open.

And the priest has His life in his own heart. The burning heart, which is full of charity. An open heart. Now when we look at nature, we see that if someone something attacks nature, nature has a reflex – it is a defense. What do we do when we are attacked? We close ourselves. And even the body, when we wound the body – it closes itself.

To keep this wound open - it is a request to be dead. This Heart will remain open, despite the attacks – because it dies (as on the Cross) in its sacrifice. So must be your charity. So must be the charity of the priest. He must not only show charity, exercise it, but it must supercede any types of attacks.

Humanly speaking, when we give charity, we expect something back. That is normal, that is human. When we don’t, we call it ingratitude – and consider it terrible – and today we are reminded of our ingratitude towards His heart, which has given so much love and receives so much ingratitude.

Yet this heart does not close. It remains open. It is very is very hard to overcome the ingratitude in returning charity for ingratitude. That is the great lesson that the priest has to exercise everyday. God’s charity is infinitely higher than any evil. And so the heart of the priest has to go so far as to forget if possible all the sufferings and all the contradictions and give again and again and again.

This charity is in the Sacred Heart and it is in this way that the souls will be gained for God. Of course you have to preach, you have to teach, you have to preside, you have to give the sacraments, you have to baptize. All these functions are yours. But above all, you are for the sacrifice. You are offering the sacrifice in which Our Lord was not only priest but victim and this Cross is imprinted in your life.

That is the only thing I can promise you about your future: you are priests, you are crucified. If you accept it, your priesthood will be full, but if you reject it, you will have a tremendous life ahead of you – in a bad sense. It is beyond a human being – but the grace you receive today will help you go through it.

Of course when we hear “cross” we think of the worst thing possible. But every day we receive little “crosses” so that the black of the coal will turn into the white of burning charity. Your sacrifices are these things that look black, but will turn into burning instruments to save souls.

You understand very well by this description that your life has this sense inside. You will have to do a lot of things as a priest – to do, to work. These works, these priestly deeds will find their efficiency (beyond what is given ex opere operato) on the souls dependent on your union with Jesus. Our Lord said it in Chapter 15 of St. John’s Gospel. Where He speaks of the vine and the branches. He expresses that it is the will of the Father that you bring forth much fruit. Will there be fruits? There is only one way to get them. We hear it in this parable. Stay in Me. Stay in Me. Because without Me you can do nothing. Your whole work as a priest is above your human qualities, which you will bring in to help, but it is not proportional to the fruits God wants you to bring. Those fruits are dependent on supernatural grace – so the fruit will be dependent on your union with Jesus, with your charity.

So not only outside are you a visible sacred heart, but you must also be inside. Develop this life. Our Lord calls you “my friends.” He wants you to be his friends. And the priest needs to understand this friendship. The word friend can be understood many ways today. We have to go to this deepest – amicitia – where everything is shared – this communication of goods – this is friendship – friendship to which the High Priest calls you. You have the most beautiful vocation on earth. And let us today ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the High Priest, mother of the priest, that you may receive this sacrament in the most worthily possible way – and then live out of it – these things are so high – but God makes it normal. You just have to live as a priest – simple, normal. Out of this faith, this charity, this grace, which God is pouring abundantly into your heart today.

You are not for the earth. You are for heaven. Once again, a priest is to save souls. That is the concern Our Lord wants you to share – Our Lord wants you to set fire to the earth and burn it with charity.

This world is “cooling down” (instead of burning with charity) – but there is no place for pessimism in our religion – because our head is the Almighty – who can do all things – if He wants to change things and put this fire on earth, if He wants to save souls, He will do it. We can say these times are hard, there is a crisis in the Church, etc. But we know it is not harder for God to make a Saint today than it was in the Middle Ages. On the contrary, we know where sin abounds, grace super-abounds. We know if this time is hard, we know it is a wonderful time to show to God that we want to love Him, to serve Him, to be on fire for Him.

We can do more today – because actions which would have been nothing in other times become glorious today – so thank God to live today and give your trust to God. And your hope.

If you want to understand more completely what will happen in Rome, I don’t know, but you must be patient (laughter) and work on perseverance. When we look at this, I don’t see much in the coming future, and when I say “future” I mean it may be years – we say little by little Tradition is making progress against Modernism – how long will it take to bring the head back to this Tradition? God knows. It will be a long process.

Don’t throw yourself into illusions. We have the idea that in Rome – they don’t want to understand the cause of this sickness which is shaping the church. We recognize that we have made some progress – that there is a recognition of the sickness. But they don’t want to blame the Council and the spirit of the Council and the getting closer to the world – the worldly spirit which has entered into the Church and is killing everything. They want to stick with it because it is so much easier – but it is not the spirit of Christ – and as long as the Cross has not come back into their hearts, we cannot expect much.

We see an expression of this in the Mass, we see that the Pope is trying little by little very carefully, and maybe not totally – nevertheless, we will little by little bring these ideas (that the Mass is a sacrifice and real sacrifice in reparation/expiation for sins which have offended God) forward. There will be no conversions otherwise.

As long as man thinks he is a “nice guy” in front of God there can be no progress. Man must go on his knees in front of God and ask for forgiveness and do reparation and penance. St. John the Baptist reminded us – what is the first thing we should do? Penance – change your life! Repair! That is the teaching of the Old and the New Testaments. When man has sinned there is no other way! You want God’s mercy? You shall have it. There is not other way. This shall be so until the end of time.

It is the way of the Cross – the only way to go to heaven. As long as in the modern Church, they want out of this way, they want the easy way, there will be no coming back no “agreement,” to use that word. This is about a conversion – we don’t get such things by talks, criticism, speaking – we get them by prayers, sacrifice. We want the Church to become better, that’s the way we have to go.

So once again we see some progress, definitely. We see priests, we see bishops. Last time we met Cardinal Castrillon on November 15th last – we heard that the number of bishops asking for the freedom of the Mass is constantly increasing – so we see a movement – we must continue, we must be firm. We have no idea of any compromise. There is nothing to negotiate. You cannot negotiate the Faith. If we go to Rome we go not to negotiateit is to simply ask these authorities to come back – that is all. And for this of course, we need the prayers and the sacrifices. God can do what He wants whenever He wants. Ask and you shall receive. Pray. You’ll get it.

Let us pray, let us not go any day without praying for this true, real restoration of the church – for the salvation of the church – remembering that until the end of the world we have to fight. Don’t think that when this crisis in the church will end everything will be fine – one day it will end, yes. And then we will enter into a new one. Because we are a Church Militant. The devil does not sleep! Maybe for a few days, but then he will be back. We don’t have the right to sleep – let us be vigilant.

Let us ask the Sacred Heart for this fire. We must not fear, we have God with us. Even when we receive blows God is going to turn them into winning blows – the best example is Our Lord dying on the cross – which looks like a loss – but is rather the greatest victory – and that is the great victory of our Master – do we expect to do better than Him?

And so today on the feast of the Sacred Heart, we ask Him to pour on us this fire – He wants to pour onto us this infinite fire – we cannot even grasp how much Our Lord wants to give us – if we could understand it just a bit it would make our hearts great.

Your heart must be the heart of Jesus – so it must be large for all the humans’ souls – even the worst enemies of the church – God died for all of us and he paid the price for all – you don’t have the right to kick anyone out of your heart.

Let us ask for this charity – for you and for all of us. In this charity we will win and win many souls more with us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Stephen Heiner

Stephen lives in Paris, France. He founded True Restoration in 2006.

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