Friday, August 25, 2006

La Salette Secrets II

After writing this original article, La Salette Secrets, I ordered the book Découverte du secret de La Salette, by René Laurentin and Michel Corteville (published by Fayard, France). I was wondering if they gave credence to the controversial secrets of Melanie Calvat (the ones she published in 1879 with imprimatur of Bishop Zola of Leece, Italy; though recall that the bishop was later reprimanded for premitting publication). It was in this version of the secret (which now thanks to the book I have learned is the 8th version) that the infamous line "Rome will become the seat of the Antichrist" was written. This is one of the lines that earned the secret and all books, brochures, etc., that contained it a place on the Index. (Of course the one way to view this statement is that Rome is not the same as the Vatican, at least not anymore).

Never the less, I was interested in what the authors take was on this secret. I still do not know completely, because I do not know French. Undaunted I undertook the task of attempting translation of some of the relevant material to try and understand where the authors stand on this. The book, by the way does have imprimatur (Nihil obstat, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Tournay, 13 férvier 2002, Dom Bernard Billet; Imprimatur, Évry, le jour Pâques 2002, + Mgr Michel Dubost).

The translations were accomplished starting with a machine translation, then using an online French dictionary and other resources to try and complete the translation. I apologize in advance for any errors.

René Laurentin writes a foreward, explaining how Michel Corteville discovered the original secrets sent by the seers (Melanie and Maximin) to pope Pius IX. He also lays the groundwork for the book in this foreward. Here are some out-takes:

Revealing the secrets of Salette: is this an event, and which event?
(Dévoilement du secret de La Salette : est-ce un événement, et quel événement?)

After the third part of the secret of Fatima, revealed by the pope John-Paul II, on May 13, 2000, here the secrets of La Salette are revealed in its turn, together with other neglected documents.

The very first version [of the secret] of the two shepherds, addressed to the pope Pius IX, seemed lost, according to the response of the Congregation of the Faith to the father Jean Stem, then archivist of the Missionaries of Salette, who had not spared his efforts to find this official version, collected in 1851 by Msgr. Bruililad and handed-over to pope Pius IX by two canons of his See.

Since then, in 1998, Mgr Bertone, secretary of this congregation, opened to the researchers the former files of deceased pope Leo XIII (November 20, 1903). Thus the abbot Michel Corteville, who made his thesis in Rome, is the first to search this file, and found the lost secrets.
This is an interesting point. Leo XIII had a prophetic dream of portraying the ravaging of the Church by the forces of evil and, when one considers what the Church had to endure in the 20th century, one can see the Pope’s dream was frighteningly prophetic. One wonders if his interest in La Salette is related to this dream?
To discover it, it was necessary to be prepared there. If it is to be discussed, Michel Corteville has been familiar with this apparition as of his childhood. His father, Fernand CorteviIle, had been interested since the foundation, in 1958, of a group of researchers in the wake of Jacques Maritain, whose monumental work on La Salette has yet to be published. The abbot Corteville had been informed thus of La Salette quite sufficiently. After having passed his Spanish degree, then of theology in Rome, he being impassioned for La Salette, devoted his degree dissertation to it, then his doctoral thesis. After four years of ministry in Africa and nine in Mexico, he successfully supports this thesis with the faculty of Angelicum, in Rome. It counts more than thousand pages. The first volume begins at Téqui under the title the Great News of the Shepherds of La Salette. The first volume has just appeared in May 2001, the second, devoted to the life of Melanie and in the Rule which was revealed to him, will be published later on. It highlights the interest of this ignored text, which inspired since several religious foundations.

This thesis is a treasure house of documents, the non-specialist can be overwhelmed, thus this shorter book is to answer the questions raised passionately since then. I had advised Michel considering the length of his work, that I have fears that his discovery of October 1999, be not stolen from him by some media company. As soon as possible, I published a special article in Christians Magazine to publicly ensure the paternity of his discovery to him: too many researchers are surreptitiously stripped by others of their original discoveries, because the primacy of their publication is taken.
The interview from Christians Magazine is in the book. I have not had a chance to review it (my lack of French certainly being an impediment).

The fragmentary knowledge of the documents left room to multiple interrogations . The many texts discovered renew the question, to such an extent debated. The critical tendency clarified the unsophisticated aspect of the limits and weaknesses of the seers (especially Maximin). But a broad spectrum of Christian authors of reputation - Leon Bloy, Maritain, Claudel, Massignon and others - distinguished and admired the sincerity or even the holiness of the two shepherds, (especially Melanie). The debate was opened by the same hierarchy. Since, unlike Msgr of Bruillard who recognized the appearance, and held in regard the two seers, his successor Mgr Ginoulhiac, who was to continue La Salette, sacri: (?) trusted the seers however, "The mission of the shepherds is finished. that of the Church starts", he declared on September 19, 1855 as carved in stone.

This critical program thus was essential to Péres of La Salette as to the clergy of the diocese, and for this reason they deepened the negative side of the life of the seers. The matter did not miss a step to the hour when psychology unilaterally revolutionized spirituality . Those who were trusted to dicern the profound value of the two shepherds gave the appearance of outsiders then: as Maritain does not dare it to plead the cause of Melanie in front of Dom Delatte, abbot of Solesmes, as by describing himself as "layman being unaware, makes indignant Christian, poor philosopher" (letter of March 2, 1912, below p. 219).

According to the dominant assumption, the seers were under "since 1847" the illuminated and scheming dominion of the royalists. The documents put into perspective today the contrary political influences. Maximin dissuaded the count de Chambord ("Henry V") to aspire to the royalty, and Melanie accepted the principle of the Rallying of the Catholics to the republic preached by pope Leo XIII. These examples let us foresee at which point the stereotypes and hasty generalizations are to be re-examined.

But the core of the problem, the object of the conclusion, is the holiness of the poor about which the Gospel speaks. It is often disconcerting and is ignored, in spite of recent grateful efforts to bring acknowledgement, beside canonizations of popes, bishops, doctors, founders, kings or national heroes, those of the holy beggar Benoit Labre and other individuals: humble mothers, laymen of the home and children, according to the wish of Daniel Ange.

This volume thus will try to answer in short the burning questions , and discuss on every level, according to the following plan:

1. Initially, the essential account of the appearance;

2. One will see the father Michel Corteville telling his discovery and his principal conclusions in answer to the questions of the abbot Laurentin (interview in
Christians Magazine of March 15, 2002 where premiered).
3. One will examine then the problems raised by the fundamental message of Fatima: the apparent dedication which served it.

4. One will read then the complete text of the "secrets" in the six successive forms which were preserved. We will add to it what the principal interlocutors of the seers say.

5. How to think of this apparition - "recognized" - which caused so much enthusiasm, Joris Karl Huysmans, Leon Bloy, Claudel, Maritain, Massignon, but also criticism? What did the popes say of them?

6. What to think of the seers, constantly subjected to terrible contradictory attacks: indiscreet enthusiasms, contradictions and slanderings? Are they stupid, or intelligent? Balanced or not? Unstable or stable? Confused or coherent? Poor or holy?

7. What to think of the secrets and a dozen predictions so variously judged? Their versions hold them to a confusion of spirit or the diversity of the circumstances in which they expressed it unused to remember, more of rich images than of words? The long version, proper to Melanie, is it a late and subjective extrapolation through the years 1860 - 1879: "La Salette II", after "La Salette I"? Would this be a heterogeneous extrapolation? Is this is on the contrary a testimony of her fidelity with the gradual disclosure according to instructions' of Our Lady, as it is divulged at Fatima and elsewhere?

8. Lastly, it is essential to present the Rule of La Salette, the charter received from the Virgin by Melanie, on September 19, 1846, but only written in 1853 in short form, and completely in 1876. It is, to some extent, a complement of the secret in its practical and eschatologic dimensions: its positive, constructive, evangelic face.

One finds there (topics and terms) the prophecy of Grignion de Montfort on the apostles of last times (this expression being explicit only in the text of 1876). Melanie, was not able to found the order which she wished according to this revealed rule, as it seemed a utopia without interest nor fruits. But pope Leo XIII took it into account in 1878, and since then it inspired, with various degrees, several congregations: those of the happy Jacques Cusmano and Annibale di Francia. More recently, the Brothers of Saint Jean took their first steps in his spirit. A Mexican community was founded, in Merida, according to this rule, clear and contemplative, apostolic and eschatologic, in short evangelic. The Hurtubise father, Canadian, had undertaken, in the same direction, a foundation where the vocations flowed. but his moving death, while preaching in front of 2000 people, stopped his incipient project, in 1990. It currently arouses an interest in Haiti, in Canada, even in France.

The friends of La Salette and the specialists in the apparitions or the history of the Church will be grateful with abbot Cortevitle to have renewed by his discoveries the history and the problems of La Salette. It is not a question of eluding them of the specific aspects, even specifically neither the influences undergone by the seers nor the undulations in the transmission of a message whose wealth of words and images exceeded them. These illiterate of good country stock had received much in only one appearance, in less than one hour. They wrote it, accurately, without consulting the former versions, throughout thirty years, in very diverse conditions, for various recipients and applicants, while drawing from their memory, according to the letter and more still according to the spirit. Their successive versions are more or less explicit according to time and circumstances. One will have to wonder whether the alternatives take over their interpretation or extrapolations, but the substance is more constant than one might think from the reading of the former accounts. (1)

The realization of prophecies (always symbolic systems and general-purpose for biblical prophecies, insists the cardinal Ratzinger ) is more precise with La Salette than in the third part of the secret of Fatima, of which the second part was more important and more adequate. The work of Michel Corteville confirms the value, the coherence and even the topicality of the message of La Salette, and the too ignored value of the seers, quickly sacrificed on the altar of political criticism, besides rational or rationalist.
Interesting take on the third secret of Fatima! Or maybe the interpretation of the third secret is not literal because it is incorrect?

(footnote 1) One can rebuke Melanie's confusions or mistakes in the dates or predictions, but the biblical prophecy of Jonas was not carried out, and the third secret of Fatima does not include less literal inaccuracies. Maximin, less mature than Melanie, and whose vision was less precise, was sometimes victim of his fertile imagination, even of foreign influences. He clarified his youthful confusions with time, pointing to the importance of his account of 1866 (below p. 14).
In the Conclusions of the chapter entitled Les Secrets (the secrets) Lies a partial answer to my question of how the secret of 1879 is treated by the authors. Unquestionably, based on the introduction, the authors are apologizing for the validity of the 1879 secret. Here are two sections entitled Antichrist? and End of Time?.

a. Antichrist?

Thus the secrets of 1851, and all other versions speak about the Antichrist. Maximin indicates this mysterious biblical figure by the apocalyptic image of the monster, while Melanie asks for the spellng of this name, of which she is ignorant. He will be born of a religous (religieuse) , she writes. His father will be a bishop she specifies in 1860 (version 7). Following the example of Christ, it will have even her prophets forerunners (?), adds she, in the line from Jn 2, 18-22; 4,3. The edition of 1879 mentions one of them: With its troops of many nations, it will spread much blood, protesting against Christ, and any idea of religion, to take the place (versions 7-8) of it.

The prophecy has several levels, individual and collective, concrete or ideoological, deserving more attention than it seems [not] (mérite plus d'attention qu'il ne paraît). Baudelaire also spoke as a prophet while declaring: The greatest trick of the demon, it is to make one believe that he does not exist. In Demon (Fayard, 1995), we specified how, its persecuting action and homicide, which culminated in the Nazi exterminators and communists, succeeded an underground process for the spiritual uprooting of man, and suffocating faith. Pure and hard anticlericalism of the 19th and 20th centuries has been imposed discretely, has at all levels of society, an agnostic secularity. The strategy and the tactics of reducing Chritian faith were carried out with the hand of the master. The anti-religous offensive develops with guidance, a majority of the controllers claiming to be Christian and with very good pretence. Their policy is no more heroic than Louis XVI, but rather the doubtful religiosity of Napolean III. In this reassuring leader, Melanie has a premonition of the Antichrist.

The secrets describe, in terms and images different but convergent, misfortunes related to the arrival of the aforesaid character
[i.e., the Antichrist]. As in the first epistle of saint John, it is at the same time individual and collective, because it is evoked in varied forms. One will speak about resurrected (versions 7-8), but they will be bad spirits, young hell-hounds, who will triumph by weapons and the wonders. Melanie foresees the worship of spirits : the worships of Satan abound under rock [rock and roll ?] since middle of the 19th century (the Demon, p. 174-213, details what is known of this worship and of the explicitly satanic music, or in formal but occult worships: Sabbaths, black masses and ritual murder, which developed since 1950).

b. End of Time?

The secret of La Salette does not situate the Antichrist's persecutions immediately before the end of the world. The monster will disturb the peace, Maximin writes to Pius IX (
version 1): He will be choked by the breath of St. Michael writes Melanie (version 8).
About 1900, the visionary entrusted to abbot Combe the basic principles of her second secret of the end of time, (above 70). She presents the broad outline of them to Miss Vernet:

There will only be true peace on earth after the death of the Antichrist. Two or three periods of peace before the Antichrist will be of short duration, a peace after a war, and although I wish this war does not arrive, it will be terrible, terrible, then the short peace ; during all this time, I did not see a king on the throne of France. That does not mean anything, if France returned to God, God could raise her and give her a very Christian king; Ninive was condemned to perish and because it made penitence, it was forgiven. After the Antichrist, who will fall body and soul into hell, the ground opening in the presence of the thousands of spectators coming from all the parts of the world to be witness to his exaltation (as he had announced) and entrance to heaven; all will convert, glorifying the single God of heaven and earth, the Gospel of Jesus-Christ will be preached in all his purity on all the earth. The Churches will be re-established (réouvertes), the kings will be the right hand of the Holy See, there will be one Sheperd and only one herd, charity will reign in all peoples hearts. The world will still last centuries, then charity will grow cold, more and more also the earth will refuse to give its fruits

It is always difficult to draw a conclusion on the value and the authenticity of the predictions. Even those of the Scriptures are the cross of the exegesits. The great eschatologic prophecy of Christ himself in the synoptic Gospels aims at once the end of Jerusalem and also the end of the world, owing to the fact that these two events are answered typologically like respective terms of old and the new Testament, not without deep implications. For it is the plan of God for the salvation of the world which continues in the perpetual conflict between its light and its grace on the one hand, and frenzies of the world stimulated by temptations of the demon on the other hand. One will not be astonished to find same ambiguity with Maximin and especially with Melanie, from where her hesitation on the datings which she endeavours to distinguish and concretize to be clear, but without succeeding well there.

footnote 1. Letter of Melanie with Miss Vernet, July 20, 1894 (ENS). Much immediately places the Antichrist before the return of Christ (or parousy) while being based on these words of Paul: the Lord has will destroy it by the breath of stops himself and the glare of his arrival, (2 Thess. 2, 9). But is this text to be taken literally? The Scripture is as evasive as the secrets of La Salette on this mystery. In the wake of Dan 12, 1, Apoc 12, 7; 19, 20 and 20, 1-3, it attributes to the archangel Micheal or the one who gains the victory against the dragon and the false prophet, identifiable with the Antichrist. This is illustrated in a fresco of Signorelli in the cathedral of Orvieto, in Italy.


Blogger Gary J Sibio said...

A correction is needed. The pope that had the vision of the troubles in the Church during the 20th centure was Leo XIII. There is no Pope Pius XIII.

Thursday, September 07, 2006  
Blogger Mark Wyatt said...

Thanks, Gary, that's one I missed!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006  

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