Excerpt from a priestly retreat in 1980
I am not saying that in words one cannot use one phrase and then oppose it with another one, pull it out of context and, thus, make me say things that are not in my mind. I have sometimes dared to use strong phrases, for example, that the Council was more or less schismatic. In a certain sense it is true because there is a certain break with Tradition. So in the sense that the Council is in breach with Tradition, it can be said, to some extent, that it is schismatic. But when I said that, it was not to say that the Council is really, profoundly schismatic, definitively. You have to understand everything I say. The Council is schismatic insofar as it breaks with the past, that is true. But that does not mean that it is schismatic in the precise, theological sense of the word.
So when you take terms like that, you can say, “You see ! If the Council is schismatic, the pope who signed the Council is schismatic, and all the bishops who signed the Council are schismatics, so that we no longer have the right to be with them.” This is false reasoning. It’s madness, it does not make sense!
That is why I published this article on faith in Cor Unum. I don’t know if you have read the commentary on the virtue of faith by Father Bernard, a commentary on the article of St. Thomas Aquinas. He has the spirit of St. Thomas Aquinas, in which he accurately shows the infidelity of the faithful, in which he shows that among these faithful there is a danger to the faith, that there are many believers of whom one can say : “ Oh ! He no longer has the faith, he is a pagan, he is an atheist. ” If you wish, to a certain extent, because they are people who no longer practice, people who do not educate their children in a Christian way, people who have pagan reasonings, the worldly, materialists, whatever you want. Then they say: “They have no faith!” Can we really say that they no longer have the virtue of faith? It is quite another thing to no longer have the spirit of faith, or to no longer practice one’s faith, than to no longer have faith. These are different formulas. It is dangerous to immediately apply these things [like that], because by baptism they retain the virtue of faith. They have the virtue of faith, but they do not exercise it, they do not practice it. That is something else.