On the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, August 29th, 2018, Fr. Marc Vernoy, Prior of St. Thomas More Church in Sanford, Florida wrote a letter to his brother priests in Florida. This letter is wide ranging in scope, and deals with the current crisis in the Catholic Church, and what priests can do to fight back against the overwhelming wave of corruption that is consuming God's Holy Church.
Father's suggested remedies (attending the Mass, praying our daily Rosary, adoration and contemplation, and sincere prayers to the Mother of God) are all things we can also do as lay Catholics to beg God for an end to the crisis, and a restoration of our Holy Mother Church.
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Dear Brother Priest,
Greetings in the united Hearts of Jesus and Mary. My name is Marc Vernoy, I was ordained a Catholic priest for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X on June 29, 1995. After having been sent to Asia, Europe and Africa. I was assigned in Sanford, Florida, eight years ago to establish our Priory.
We are “a priestly society of common life without vows, after the example of the Societies of Foreign Missions.” Our “purpose is the priesthood and all that pertains to it and nothing but what concerns it; i.e., the priesthood as Our Lord Jesus Christ willed it when He said, “Do this for a commemoration of me.”
Before founding our Society, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre led the largest Catholic missionary congregation, the Holy Ghost Fathers and was the Apostolic Delegate for West Africa. His experience showed him the necessity of a real common life to preserve and strengthen our priestly life against the challenges and dangers of modern life in this world.
As our Lord suffered His terrible Passion, so His Mystical Body, holy Mother the Church is atrociously suffering today through so many victims, children and young adults and in her immaculate and divine dignity. Some of her beloved sons, consecrated in the Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, have appallingly betrayed her and have sorely defiled their persons with horrible crimes. Their unnatural depravation is so evil that Holy Scripture places it among the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. In their sacrilegious abuses, they crucify the whole Church, they desecrate their holy Unction and even give up their fatherhood and their human dignity, as there is no dignity anymore when you depart so sinfully from God, our Creator and Redeemer.
As poor sinners, we all know that human nature is weak and wounded, always ready to fall into sin. Thus, our Lord Jesus Christ is alerting us, “watch ye, and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. He constantly admonishes us against the perils of the world, whose Prince is Satan, and has no positive or “optimistic attitude” towards them. “The world does hate me, because I denounce it for its evil doings.” “If you belonged to the world, the world would know you for its own and love you; it is because you do not belong to the world, because I have singled you out from the midst of the world, that the world hates you.” “Have you never been told that the world’s friendship means enmity with God, and the man who would have the world for his friend makes himself God’s enemy?”
However, after the Second Vatican Council and through the liturgical reform as well, these evangelical exhortations have been silenced in the Church. In the General Audience of July 3, 1974, Pope Paul VI explained this change as follows: “We have certainly heard of the severity of the saints for the evils of the world. Many are still familiar with the books of asceticism, which have a generally negative judgment on earthly corruption. But it is also certain that we live in a different spiritual climate, being invited, especially by the recent council, to take an optimistic look at the modern world, its values, its conquests.” He then continues his speech praising modern materialism, comfort and technology and gave this advice: “We must maintain a line of demarcation between Christian life and secular life. Between the spiritual and the temporal there cannot exist this communion - or rather this confusion - of interests and ways of life that the old unitary conception of Christianity made easier and more habitual.”
We Catholics, faithful to the Word of our Lord and to the holy Tradition of His Church have always been aware of the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal worlds, but not a separation, “a line of demarcation”, as we believe in the social Kingship of the Son of God. We are for a communion coming from subsidiarity, but certainly not for any confusion. We want divine Love to be known in this world, to spread and to be loved.
These words of Paul VI along with many others regarding a new “spiritual” attitude towards the “world” are very disturbing and confusing, as they frankly depart from divine doctrine and from the constant teaching and practice of the Catholic Church. The absence of God the Father in any society is at the root of all evils we may witness today. How could Paul VI open the gates of the Church to the fetid and evil spirit of the world, promoting a liberal and godless attitude with the world? This invitation has unfortunately been observed in what was called the aggiornamento of our Church. The holy Father, instead promoting the salvific influence of the Church in our world and caring for the spiritual good of his flock, exposed both to the sinful contamination of the world for their own ruin. At the first rank of this contamination have been the consecrated persons. 120,000 priests left the priesthood for the world and its corruption and many who stayed in their position have greatly suffered. Also, the changes in the liturgy contributed to a confusion regarding the identity of the Priest and even to a desecration of Priesthood. Every day of our life we need to be reminded about our sacred identity and divine vocation.
Paul VI concluded the Second Vatican Council with these words: “Indeed, an immense love for men profoundly permeated it. Human needs examined and considered in detail... have absorbed the attention of our Synod. You worshipers of humanity (cultores humanitatis) who renounce transcendental truths ought to pay tribute to the Council for at least this and acknowledge our new Humanism. For we also, and we more than anyone, are worshipers of man.”
This new horizontal attitude, worldly and man-centered, forgetting the primal and preliminary vertical attitude towards God Almighty altered completely the meaning of Christian life and had enormous effects on Catholic doctrine and liturgy.
Nevertheless, the Apostle admonished the Romans regarding this very attitude leading to all perversions and abuses. “For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man... Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, that prompts them to disgraceful acts. They are versed in every kind of injustice, knavery, impurity, avarice, and ill-will; spiteful, murderous, contentious, deceitful, depraved, backbiters, slanderers, God’s enemies; insolent, haughty, vainglorious; inventive in wickedness, disobedient to their parents; without prudence, without honor, without love, without loyalty, without pity. Yet, with the just decree of God before their minds, they never grasped the truth that those who so live are deserving of death; not only those who commit such acts, but they also that consent to them that do them.”
Let us keep in mind that Saint Paul is not targeting only abusers, but also those who cover for and promote this kind of behavior. As a consequence, it is quite clear that this new “optimistic look at the modern world” deprives the flock from any spiritual protection and abandon them to pride, idolatry, adultery, egotism, narcissism, “selfism”, blindness, contraception and abortion, addiction, practical atheism, abuse of power, irresponsibility, revolutionary feminism, social chaos, homosexuality and many other evils that we do better not to name.
In a society as large as the Church, there is a force of inertia that can still give the illusion of its strength, and cohesion for a certain time after a serious and disabling event. The Church is partially unplugged for half a century, as God did not fully abandon her. Confused and without a clear supernatural goal, her human side simply continued to roll thanks to the strength it had accumulated until those years and thanks to an intense and overwhelming emphasis on administration. Many societies deprived of fatherhood, a loving authority that gives a vision, have forgotten the “why” of their lives to focus on the “how” of their organization.
Today, we are witnessing the result of a disconnection with God the Father, the batteries are very low and the spectacle of the fall in shameful convulsions is lamentable. While Pope Paul VI approved and promoted the disconnection, some Roman Pontiffs tried to fix things, especially the moral life with cosmetic measures, which are worthless, as the only effective medicine, which is in the truth of our Faith in the Word of God and in His mystical Body. Very few in the Catholic Church are those who really believe in this article of Faith that She in union with Her Head Who is Christ, is the only One Who provides the necessary means of salvation to human beings.
The true Church and chaste celibacy cannot be the cause of today’s scandals. The crime comes from a carelessness for spiritual good, from an invasive anti-Catholic subculture and from the absence of true Shepherds and Fathers. The new collegial way of governing the Church deprived the Fathers of their full authority, responsibility and accountability and finally of their paternal heart.
The Second Vatican Council and its consequences were supposed to revivify the Church with a reformation, but it obviously favored a dreadful deformation. Never has a true Catholic reformation ever been liberal and confusing in its teaching, lax and permissive in its practice, as it clearly was in the last Council.
We know that a fish rots from the head, but we also know that the good outcome always comes from Peter and we must pray for the Pope. “Thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
However, in his Letter to the People of God, Pope Francis unfortunately avoids the deep causes of so many heartbreaking scandals. Three key words are missing: “homosexual”, “bishop” and “sacrilege”. We do not hear Peter warning us and taking any concrete measure against the liberal and homosexual subculture, corrupting from the highest prelates to the simple assistant priest. We know for years that many in the hierarchy are covering up for and even promoting this evil subculture, liberal in its theory and confusing and perverting in its latest practical consequences. We unfortunately know today that Peter is apparently tainted with this subcultural influence. In the Letter to the People of God Pope Francis gives no concrete direction. Being accountable and responsible for whatever happens under their authority to the flock, Pope Francis is not asking his brother bishops to investigate, to inquire, to thoroughly and canonically visit their diocese. Where is the sense of Fatherhood? Though, “no man can serve two masters!” and we expect our Holy Father to set a clear example, as the Vicar of our Lord and to act as a true Father in order to confirm His Brothers under the authority our only Master, Christ our Lord.
Background checks are a cosmetic measure. We need the help of God the Father, we need to beg the Holy Ghost for the grace to keep the Faith, the grace to persevere in His Charity and Love, the grace to be led by His Hope and to live in His Peace. This requires remaining in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very minimum we must do is to pray faithfully our Breviary, our Rosary, to reserve a quiet time of contemplation, another to savor Holy Scripture, to entertain a deep love for the sacrament of Penance and its frequent use and finally a supreme devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the summit of our lives and reminds us who we are. We must also ask for prayers. Traditionally, first Thursdays are dedicated to pray for priests, at masses, adoration, holy hour, etc. Our brother priests need our presence and comfort to avoid the curse of loneliness that affects many, which is a deadly danger and for some a foretaste of Hell. “Woe to him that is alone, for when he falls, he has none to lift him up.”
We, first sons of our Immaculate Blessed Lady, need to ask her intercession to live a holy and chaste life. It is a gift that we must daily beg through prayer, fasting, corporal penance and ascetic life. “They that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.” Our Lord warns us, “unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish”. The first move of a worldly life is to abandon the ascetic life and the splendid and radiating virtue of chastity. The gift of this delicate virtue is a fruit of our constant understanding, renewal and love of our consecration.
We have been set apart and we shall not take back what we have sacrificed and given to God Almighty. The holy sacrifice of the Mass is at the core of our fidelity and a necessity to continue to grow in the dedication of our own “fiat”. “Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood. Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all. Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” Our identity is a divine gift and we must have a vivid sense of it to live it wholly.
We, priests of our Lord Jesus Christ are expected to preach fully, courageously and without any ambiguity the mysteries of God and all the means He gives us to live these mysteries.
The doctrine regarding sin and the last ends are extremely efficient. “Sin is the one and only evil in the world. We mortals are accustomed to regard the sufferings and contradictions of this life as evils, whereas they are graces in reality; since, far from separating us from God, they bring us nearer to Him. Through sin man becomes worthless in God’s sight; through sin, he, who is made of nothing, returns to his original nothingness. St. John Chrysostom says: ‘Many consider eternal damnation to be the greatest of all evils; but for my part, I always assert that to offend Jesus Christ is a far greater evil’. Sin is a greater evil than the annihilation of the world, nay, of a million worlds, with their countless inhabitants. Sin is the only real disgrace.”
We, priests and sinners, united with the Passion and Crucifixion of our Redeemer, alter Christus, must fulfil our duty of reparation and expiation for the sin of the world, the sin of our fallen brothers and set a good example for this purpose. In these troubled and confused times, we have the great duty to remind ourselves and the faithful about the evil of the practice of homosexuality and seriously fight against its unnatural contamination.
We pray to Mary Immaculate, who prophesized this crisis at Akita, Fatima, La Salette, Quito, etc. We pray to her for the Church and for you my dear brother priest, who are expected, after our necessary and certainly sorrowful purification, to be a key instrument in the absolutely needed conversion and reformation to return to the Love of Christ.
 F.S.S.P.X Statutes (I:1) “approved by a decree of the Bishop of Fribourg, November 1, 1970, and praised in a letter from the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy, dated February 18, 1971”.
 Idem (II:1)
 Gn 18:20-21
 Mk 14:38
 Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ap 12:9; etc.
 Jn 7:7
 Jn 15:19
 Js 4:4
 Paul VI, Homily of the closing Mass of the Second Vatican Council on December 7, 1965, from the original Latin version: http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/la/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651207_epilogo-concilio.html
 Rm 1:22-32
 Salus extra ecclesiam non est, St Cyprian Ep 4:4; Ep 73:21,2. Extraordinary Magisterium: Innocent III, 4th Lateran Council. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam. Eugene IV, Cantate Domino. All Popes taught this dogma, especially from Leo XII to Pius XII.
 Mt 16:18-19
 https://s3.amazonaws.com/lifesite/TESTIMONYXCMVX-XENGLISH-CORRECTED-FINAL_VERSION_-_G-2.pdf : TESTIMONY by His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana Apostolic Nuncio.
 Mt 6:24
 Eccles 4:10
 Gal 5:24-25
 Lk 13:3
 1Tim 4:14-16
 The Catechism explained, Spirago, III Sin 2:3