Making Distinctions
Spiritual Conference, Econe, 19 January, 1982
The following excerpt shows the Archbishop's attitude in judging situations and people, in making distinctions and in avoiding rash judgment.

So, what is less often dealt with, and which is perhaps more difficult to treat and more delicate, are the pastoral consequences, isn’t it.. I would say that to study the toxicity of the new mass, that is relatively easy, it’s not at all complicated. In any case, we do not agree at all with those people who are perhaps quite close to us, who are so called traditionalists, and who say : “Sure, the old mass is better, but the other one is not bad”. There you are, this is what the Abbot of Fontgombault said. The abbot of Fontgombault answered a person that wrote to him and said she could no longer remain a Benedictine Oblate with them because they were attached to the new mass. So the abbot of Fontgombault replied : “Yes, it is true, I recognize indeed that the old mass is better, but the other one is not bad either and thus, in obedience, we say it.” That is the conclusion. So we, we absolutely do not accept this. To say that the new mass is good : NO ! The new mass is not good, because if she were good, tomorrow we would accept it, not ? It it were good, we should obey. If the Church gives us something that is good and tells us : you must accept it, well, what would be the reason for us to say no ? While we say “this mass is poisoned, this mass is bad, it causes us to lose our faith little by little..”, so in that case we are obliged to refuse it.

So, now, from a pastoral point of view, it is a problem. We have to always be careful not to become pure logicians and pure mathematicians who reason in the stratosphere and who don’t have their feet upon the ground, who are no longer among humans. There is still the moral theology. We would not have any need for moral theology, if we were to simply limit ourselves to dogma and speculative reasoning. Dogmatic theology would be enough, but there is sill moral theology that precisely studies all the conditions in which people find themselves and in which they must necessarily find themselves in order not to sin. One still has to learn to make distinctions. That is what scholastic theology and scholastic philosophy teaches us, because scholastic philosophy is a philosophy of common sense. So, it teaches us to distinguish, it is necessary to distinguish, do not be one of those people who do not want to make distinctions, no nuances, who do not really want to see reality, because reality hinders, it hinders their reasoning. That does not make sense.

So, we have to arrive at the truth. And truth in morals, is not so simple.. we must realize that this is not simple. Each person is different from the other, and consequently each person that presents himself in the confessional to accuse himself of his sins is different from the other. Each one must, we all need to be judged according to our works, says St Paul. God will judge us according to our works, we will not be judged according to our neighbor or others, according to our society, like some would want us to believe, that we will all be saved together.. we are carried by society, and if something doesn’t work, our society is to blame, we’re not personally responsible anymore. That is not possible. We are judged according to our works.

So we too, since the good God has precisely given us in the sacrament of orders this power of absolving and judging, according to the essence of the sacrament of penance, it is a judgment, it is a judgment.. How should we judge ? We know something is bad, there are lots of bad things, bad companions, bad books, bad images, movies, tv.. all that can cause scandal. Scandal is a means to lead us into sin, it’s something that leads us into sin. In society there are numerous scandals.

So, we can truly say that the mew mass is scandalous. Not in a sense of scandal that surprises us, that is not it. Scandal is what leads us to sin. The new mass leads to sins against the faith. It is one of the gravest sins, the most dangerous, the loss of faith.. The loss of faith, it is truly an estrangement from revelation, and estrangement of Our Lord Jesus Christ…[end of tape]