Homily on the votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart
on the votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary Most Holy
Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gratiæ,
ut misericordiam consequamur,
et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportuno.
Dear Brothers and Friends, on this first Saturday of December, the Introit of the Votive Mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an invitation for us to turn to the Mediatrix of all Graces, to the One who is Almighty by grace, while the world and the Church are besieged by an attack that seems to overwhelm everything in general apostasy.
Let us approach the throne of graces with confidence, to obtain mercy and find graces to help us in the right time. These are the concluding words of the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which the Apostle speaks to us of Christ the High Priest: There is no creature that remains hidden from him, but all things are naked and open in his eyes, and to him we must render an account (Heb 4:13). And immediately afterwards: Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us remain firm in the profession of our faith (Heb 4:14).
The reason why the Church wanted to propose as part of the Mass of the Immaculate Heart a passage of Scripture relating to her Divine Son lies first of all in Virgin Mother’s role of Co-Redemptrix. Ego sum ostium (Jn 10:7) the Lord said – “I am the gate” – and that doorway of grace is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, wide open to welcome each one of us. But we also invoke Mary Most Holy as Ianua Cœli, the Gate of Paradise. Christ the Lord is Universal Mediator, by virtue of His Incarnation, Passion and Death; Our Lady is Mediatrix, by virtue of Her Divine Motherhood and Her Compassion at the Cross of her Son. Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a powerful refuge for us, especially when the Passio Christi continues in the Passio Ecclesiæ: not only in its individual members, but in the entire ecclesial body. It is in these hours of darkness and apostasy, when all seems lost, that the pierced Heart of the Savior opens in the immolation of love to the repentant soul, and the Heart of the Virgin, pierced by the sword, beats in unison with that of Her Son.
Ours is a world without love, because it is without God. A world in which God has been banished from society and, as horrible as it may seem, in which the same enemies that rage in the secular world would also like to oust Him from the Church, turning her into a Masonic sect subservient to the New World Order. The Civitas Dei seems to be a distant memory of a bygone era, while the Civitas diaboli is established in almost all once-Christian nations. But we forget that the Civitas Dei is not a utopia that deceived our fathers, but rather the necessary realization of the words of the Apostle: Oportet autem illum regnare, donec ponat omnes inimicos sub pedibus ejus. It is necessary for Our Lord to reign until He has placed all His enemies under His feet (1 Cor 15:25). There are, therefore, enemies – and today we know well who they are – destined to be humiliated by the King of kings, and their fate is sealed; it is only a matter of time. Enemies who today have united – consilium fecerunt in unum (Ps 70:10) – in an infernal alliance between the deep state and the deep church, to hasten their delirious plan of global domination. A project that is the exact opposite of that regnum veritatis et vitæ; regnum sanctitatis et gratiæ; regnum justitiæ, amoris et pacis of which the Preface of the Feast of Christ the King speaks. The kingdom of the Antichrist is a kingdom of lies and death; a kingdom of perversion and damnation; a kingdom of injustice, hatred and war. And if in the economy of Redemption everything that comes to us from God is freely given and the fruit of His generous magnificence, where Satan reigns everything can be monetized, everything is bought and sold, everything has a price.
The restoration of the Divine Kingship of Our Lord cannot be attained, however, without first restoring the Catholic priesthood, on which depend the survival of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Most Holy Eucharist, and the sacramental grace by which souls are sanctified. And just as a body cannot subsist without a heart, so too the Catholic Church cannot live without the priesthood, through which the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the beating heart of the Mystical Body, is perpetuated on our altars.
As proof of this supernatural reality, we can see the pitiful state in which the Church finds herself today, a victim of the distortion of the priesthood and the falsification of the Mass: the disastrous collapse of priestly and religious vocations on the one hand, and on the other, the deformation of young people in the few surviving seminaries, which are now corrupt doctrinally and morally. Since the great reform of the Council of Trent we had witnessed a revival of religious orders and clergy, helped in this by a wise discipline that forged saints. Since the so-called “conciliar reform,” we have seen churches, seminaries, convents and Catholic schools emptied. Out of the eagerness to please the world, to follow fashions, and not to seem reactionary, the post-conciliar Church has been reduced to insignificance, after having deprived the faithful and clergy of that priceless patrimony that has proved valid and effective over the centuries. It is difficult not to see in the Second Vatican Council the blatant contradiction of two thousand years of faith.
The providential work of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, beginning with the immediate post-conciliar period, had the indisputable merit, on the one hand, of denouncing the estrangement from the immutable lex credendi, and on the other of understanding the threat to which the priesthood was exposed with the introduction of the reformed liturgy and with it the disturbing changes to the rite of conferring Holy Orders. The priests of the new church became “presidents of the assembly” and their ministerial role was progressively silenced and forgotten, precisely because there was no longer to be an alter Christus who sacrificed the Immaculate Host on the altar to the Eternal Father, but rather a mere delegate of the people who presided over a fraternal agape around a table. For this there was no longer any need for a High Priest, a King, a Prophet. This is why the kingdom of Christ must be restored also and first of all in the bosom of the Church, recognizing that for sixty years now the modernist Hierarchy has methodically erased and denied any reference to the doctrine of the social kingship of Christ reaffirmed only a few decades earlier – in 1925 – by Pius XI. On the other hand, the Innovators could have achieved very little if they had not taken steps to eliminate this obstacle to the laicization of society and, paradoxically, of the Church itself. By now it is evident: Christ the King and Priest is the stumbling block of conciliar neomodernism and even more so of the last ten years of the “Bergoglian pontificate.”
Italy, blessed by God, who providentially desired that the See of the Papacy would be located in Rome, now follows the ruin of other Catholic nations which have become apostates and rebels against Christ. The Italian Church has also sunk into ruin, and the Italian Bishops’ Conference is totally subservient to the new Bergoglian course. The Bishops of the Italian Dioceses are either silent or else convinced supporters of Bergoglio. Most parish pastors, priests, and religious follow the synodal wind like weather vanes, and the few dissenters do not dare to react publicly.
For this reason, I believe the time has come to give a new impetus to Exsurge Domine, the Association I founded a few months ago. I wished to reserve this particular occasion which sees us gathered today in the house of the President of Exsurge Domine to announce that the Monastic Village at the Hermitage of Palanzana in Viterbo, initially intended to help the Benedictine Sisters of Pienza, will become, God willing, a house of formation for clergy which will take the name Collegium Traditionis, since the Sisters have recently decided to dissociate themselves from the project that Exsurge Domine had offered them.
The Collegium Traditionis will be the first and only traditional Italian reality destined for a seminary, equipping itself with teachers and spiritual guides of sure orthodoxy and solid spirituality, under my supervision.
This passage follows in some way the initiative of the venerable Archbishop Lefebvre, but it differs from it in its Italian and Roman flavor, and also in consideration of the different ecclesial context today compared to the situation of the 1970s. We will therefore have vocations and ordinations for Italy, to restore the Catholic priesthood in the homeland of St. Ambrose and St. Charles Borromeo, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Pius V and St. Pius X, and all the Saints whose our beloved Italy is honored.
I am well aware of the challenge that this project represents, but I am equally confident that, where the intention is right, the Lord will not fail to bless our commitment to the service of the Church and to protect Exsurge Domine from the attacks to which it will certainly be subjected. However, my commitment and that of my confreres will need the help and collaboration of those whom, as Saint John Chrysostom writes, the Lord has endowed with material means to make them cooperators and instruments of Providence. Good things belong to the Lord, says the great Doctor of the Church, and the rich are those who have the privilege of administering the riches that God has granted them to use for good. For this reason, dear Brothers and Friends, I urge you to become ministers of Providence yourselves in this ambitious project, in the awareness that this work of charity of yours – obviously accompanied by a supernatural gaze – will serve Italy first and foremost, indeed the Italian people, given the total absence of a traditional seminary in this region. Your children and your children’s children deserve not only to grow up and be educated in a Christian family, but also to have Ministers of God who do not betray their vocation, and who continue, even in times of apostasy, to do what Christ commanded the Apostles and their Successors, remaining faithful to what the Holy Church has always taught.
The joy of cooperating in the urgent needs of the Church goes hand in hand with the pride of carrying out a meritorious work for our country as well, because it is only through the sanctifying action of the Sacraments and the Holy Mass that the Italian people will be able to rediscover the pride of their faith and find the courage to resist the subversive project now underway. But in order for this to be possible, good and holy priests are needed who are not subjected to the blackmail of having to accept the errors of Vatican II or the deviations of Bergoglio in order to exercise their ministry. If you think of the few clergy of the former Ecclesia Dei Institutes, or of the secular and regular priests scattered throughout the Dioceses and Religious Orders, you can easily understand why today an institute of independent clerical formation is more indispensable than ever: not because independence is to be pursued in itself, but because the abuse of authority on the part of the Vatican and diocesan Bishops effectively prevents any authentically Catholic and truly traditional pastoral activity.
At this rite today we have four priests of Familia Christi and two seminarians present. Their past history should serve as an example of this systematic persecution that the Bergoglian Church is waging against anyone who deviates from the avowedly anti-traditional line of this “pontificate.” These priests have had the opportunity to understand first-hand the absolute falsity of the alleged parrhesia so praised by Bergoglio. And I can testify that the persecution they suffered gave them the opportunity to understand that no compromise can be accepted, least of all in doctrinal, moral and liturgical matters. But how many other priests, how many parish priests, how many monks and friars, how many young vocations remain isolated and sterile, because there is no refuge to welcome and assist them?
For this reason, I am sure that all of you will be able to seize the opportunity that is given to you, each according to his or her own means, both spiritual and material, to contribute to the work of Exsurge Domine. In this regard, St. John Chrysostom also admonishes those whom the Lord has made rich, reminding them of the task they have of making themselves cooperators in the magnificence of God, of being in some way stewards of His goods, created and granted not to nourish selfishness and the lust for power, but in harmony with the divine order, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the Good of souls.
This evening, with First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, the Holy Church prepares to celebrate the Birth of the Redeemer. The first and last Sundays of the liturgical year instruct us with the Gospel of the end times, showing us how everything begins and is fulfilled in Christ, King and High Priest, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. We find ourselves in an interregnum between the coming in humility of the Incarnate Word and His return in glory; an eternal glory: cujus regni non erit finis, as we recite in the Creed. Well, in this time of trial and mercy that prepares us for liturgical Advent as well as the final coming of the Lord, we have the possibility of meriting the beatitude of heaven by fulfilling the Will of God, in Faith animated by good works.
An eschatological outlook leads us to believe that we are now living in the end times, and that the time has come to look realistically at the struggle to which we are called. Non præteribit generatio hæc donec omnia hæc fiant. This generation will not pass away before all this happens (Mt 24:33), the Lord warns us. We need to understand the privilege we have received of witnessing the final stages of the epochal war between God and Satan; a war already won by Our Lord on the Cross, but which is waiting to be sanctioned by the triumph of Christ and the definitive defeat of the Adversary. It is a privilege that consists above all in being witnesses of this victory, precisely when the apparent success of the enemies suggests that all is lost and the Church has been defeated and overthrown. But was this not also the case after the Savior’s death, after His burial, when the Apostles had abandoned the Lord and shut themselves up in the Upper Room? The Passio Ecclesiæ is not unlike the Passio Christi, and there is no glory of the resurrection through it without first suffering the sufferings of Calvary. In this the words of the Apostle are fulfilled: Instaurare omnia in Christo (Eph 1:10) means precisely restoring all things in Christ, understanding that the Cross is the throne from which the Divine King reigns, and that the Church, His Mystical Body, must also rediscover her own identity and mission by ascending Golgotha as well.
Let us so live that the Child King, whom we will soon adore with the shepherds and the Three Magi Kings, may illuminate this valley of tears, warm our hearts, and inflame our wills: so that at His triumphant return as Rex tremendæ majestatis each one of us may be called to His right hand: voca me benedictis.
And may the Blessed Virgin – whose Immaculate Heart was chosen by the eternal Son of the Father to be the domus aurea, the palace of the King of kings – deign to offer all that we have returned in this life to Our Lord, in the confidence that we will receive back a hundredfold. May the imminent Feast of the Immaculate Conception spur us to trust in the Blessed Virgin, who alone overcame all heresies and who in her humility – a model for us all – deserved to be able to crush the head of the ancient Serpent. To the Immaculate Conception, our Mother, Lady and Queen, I entrust in a very special way the Exsurge Domine Association and all those who support it with the spiritual help of prayer and with the material help of charity. Let us ask her to answer our supplication and make us worthy of Christ’s promises. And so may it be.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
2 December 2023
Last Day of the Liturgical Year
and First Saturday of the Month