The Cross or the Stethoscope?

June 09, 2023

The following is an editorial written by Fr. Alain Lorans, SSPX.

During the consecration of a church, the bishop goes to the crossing of the transept where ashes have been spread on the ground. With the end of his crozier, he traces the Greek alphabet on one strip, and the Latin alphabet on the other. This is shown in the photograph on the cover of this issue of Nouvelles de Chrétienté, taken on May 3, during the dedication of the Immaculata Church in St. Marys, Kansas, by Bishop Bernard Fellay.

This ceremony signifies that this consecrated temple belongs to the Catholic Church, whose liturgy is mainly celebrated in Latin and Greek, in the West and in the East. These transverse bands form the Greek letter Χ (khi), the first letter of Christ's name, Χριστός.

The Greek alphabet unites the first and last letters, Α and Ω, alpha and omega, indicating that Christ is the beginning and the end of all things. It is a sign of ownership: Christ is indeed King of the whole earth, but, head of the Mystical Body, He takes possession of this particular territory which is henceforth exclusively consecrated to Him.

On the spiritual level, the fact that the letters are traced with the episcopal crozier, on a cross of ash, shows that the doctrine comes to us from those who have ecclesiastical authority, and that it is understood only by humble souls, and that everything is summed up in Jesus Christ crucified.

Such is the traditional liturgy, lex orandi; it expresses the traditional doctrine, lex credendi. It is this doctrine that unfortunately is being undermined today by men of the Church “listening” to the modern world. It is no longer a question of faithfully receiving and transmitting the truth revealed by God, one must listen to the expectations of men and even hear “the cry of the earth.”

The aggiornamento desired by the Council was an “updating,” which has imperceptibly turned into the style of the day. Vatican II did not want to be a doctrinal council, but a pastoral one: doctrine fades away and a pastoral without doctrine sets in.

As Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, affirms during the interview published in this issue: “They advocate a Church without doctrine, without dogma, without faith, in which there is no longer any need for an authority who teaches anything.”

In fact, today it is no longer the tip of a crozier that engraves the truths of Catholic doctrine and morality in minds and hearts, but a stethoscope that listens to the palpitations of the modern world. They listen and they dialogue, without making a diagnosis or a judgment, nor prescribing an order or a command.

The new missionaries, who were reluctant depositors of revealed truth, remained silent for fear of being accused of “proselytism.” They are aphasic about the truths of salvation, but loquacious about ecology and immigration.

What if, instead of opening the Church to the modern world, we rediscovered the deep meaning of the consecration of a Church that reminds us of what the Church herself is: janua Cæli, the gate of Heaven.