We have seen that the attack described in the Third Secret of Fatima vision is described with terms that point directly to Psalm 56 which, according to St. Augustine, "sings of the Passion of Christ." as we pointed out in Saturday's Part Three: St. Augustine and the Psalms But what can this mean? How can the Body of Christ undergo some sort of crucifixion? If our speculation of the Bishop in White being Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is correct, we may have some understanding. Let's review what happened to Lefebvre.
"having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him and in the same way there died one after another other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions."
In the vision the soldiers had weapons and arrows. We saw that soldiers could be representing those with power. "But", borrowing the words of St. Augustine, "how did they put him to death, if they carried no weapon? Their teeth are weapons and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword. Ignore the weaponless hands and watch the armed mouth for that is where the sword is wielded that slew…" - the Bishop - "When did they strike him? When they shouted…" "Excommunicated! Excommunicated!" And this they did, not only to the bishop, but to a whole portion of the Body of Christ:
"...[Archbishop] Mons. Lefebvre and...[newly ordained Bishops Bernard Fellay,|
Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta,
have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication..."
"Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism...
carries the penalty of excommunication...
a commission is instituted...for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion
of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals
until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Mons. Lefebvre..."
from the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II
given Motu Proprio July 2, 1988
How might the pronounced "excommunication" be unjust and invalid? Archbishop Lefebvre did break Canon Law 1382 in consecrating bishops without a papal mandate, which does incur automatic excommunication. But by Canon Law 1323 he could have been judged innocent by case of necessity. Many who are familiar with Archbishop Lefebvre cry out that it is an undeniable fact that he acted out of what he viewed as a case of necessity. But by Canon Law 1324 it is enough for him even to erroneously yet culpably miss-assess the case of necessity to be exempt from excommunication.[See the series of articles The Illicit Episcopal Ordinations of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre by Mario Derksen] The document Ecclesia Dei was generated based upon the breaking of Canon Law 1382, but doesn't even mention of Canon Laws 1323 and 1324. Were these laws even considered? Yes, they had the right to make the statement, but their statement was not infallible. So were they speaking according to the truth or according to their desires when they pronounced him cut off from the Body of Christ … when they killed him? For a part of a body cut off from the body dies. Those cut off from the Mystical Body of Christ are no longer viewed as living members of the Church. They are considered to be dead.
But why go to such extremes in dealing with Archbishop Lefebvre? Why was he such a threat? Why was it so important to stop him? Look at where the Bishop was killed in the vision - at the foot of a cross, a cross of wood with the bark, that is, the dogma of the faith preserved - Tradition. He died on his knees at the foot of Tradition.
In his correspondence with Rome, Archbishop Lefebvre himself expresses the pain of the sword with which he was finally killed, "Dare I say that every one of these letters is like a sword going through me, for I am so desirous of being in full accord with and full submission to the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of Peter, as I think I have been, the whole of my life. But that submission can be made only in the unity of the faith and in the "true Tradition," as Your Holiness says in your letter."Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Volume I by Michael Davies]
The Root of the "Schism" was the Notion of Tradition
"Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs"
Archbishop Lefebvre said, "everywhere in the Catholic world, courageous people are uniting together around priests who are faithful to the Catholic faith and to the Catholic Church, so as to maintain Tradition, which is the bulwark of our Faith. If there is a movement as general as this it is because the situation in the Church is truly serious. If Catholics and good priests…have been able to beat the insult of being treated as disobedient rebels and dissidents, it could have only have been so as to maintain the Catholic Faith. They do it knowingly, following the spirit of the martyrs. Whether one is persecuted by one's own brethren or by the enemies of the Church, it is still to suffer martyrdom, provided it be for the maintaining of the Faith."[See The Infiltration of Modernism in the Church, Archbishop Lefebvre ]
It appears that the death of the martyrs was in some way a crucifixion of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, the Faith. In article 4 of Ecclesai Dei we find evidence of how the Faith may have been attacked. Here, Pope John Paul II identifies that the root of the "schism" can be discerned as two different notions of Tradition (with a capital T). Archbishop Lefebvre knew what the Church had taught about Tradition and he didn't change a thing. He was fully aware of what the First Vatican Council states in it's Dogmatic Consitution Dei Filius:
"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth."
Archbishop Lefebvre even had written on his tombstone, "Tradidi quod et accepi", "I have transmitted what I received." But Pope John Paul II had a different notion of Tradition (see Ecclesia Dei, Article 4) for which he cites Vatican II - a council that made sure to make no extraordinary statements of infallibility, and which was written so ambiguously that it could be interpreted with a modernist slant. Unfortunately, one effect of modernism is the distortion of the notion of Tradition. Has the notion of Tradition changed? If so, can the dogma of the faith be said to be preserved?
Many people like to say, "Vatican II can be accepted as long as it is interpreted in the light of Tradition." But the question we have for them is which notion of Tradition? Both Archbishop Lefebvre and Pope John Paul II have identified that they each have different notions of Tradition. It was for the preservation of Tradition that Archbishop Lefebvre broke Canon law 1382 in consecrating bishops and that's why he saw it as so urgent, so necessary - he wanted to ensure that the flock would continue to have truly Catholic bishops to guide them as he had been doing, as he said "I am not the head of a rebellion. I am only trying to be the shepherd who tries to tend a disoriented flock in the spirit of the first pastor and those who followed him." [See Vatican Encounter: Conversations with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre by José Hanu] It was also the difference in the notion of Tradition that Pope John Paul II saw as cause for opposing the consecrations and calling the Archbishop a schismatic. This is quite serious. Can Tradition change? What has happened to Tradition?
A Possible Understanding of the Crucifixion of the Body of Christ…and of a Resurrection
Death is separation of body and soul. It is when two vital parts of a being are separated from each other. This can happen also to the Body of Christ. Can Tradition continue separated from the Pope? No. Can the Pope continue without the true Tradition? No. Right now the Body of Christ is strained with an abnormal situation that can not persist forever. It was Archbishop Lefebvre's view that Rome will return to Tradition, it must. However, before the two parts can be fully joined again, a purging must take place. We have no idea how this might happen, but we might guess that if the modernist machine is too hard to turn around, the Pope himself - be it the present Pope or a future one - may one day have to flee. And all those who have placed their trust in Christ and His Church, remaining faithful to the Vicar of Christ, will not have their trust betrayed, for when the Pope and Tradition are rejoined, the Body of Christ may truly experience a glorious resurrection. This really would be a "New Springtime" for the Church!!