Bishop Williamson states Novus Ordo Mass is legitimate.

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At the end of a conference on June 28, 2015, Bishop Williamson followed with a Q&A. Addressing the first question @ 1:01:30 which was: “I go to the Latin Mass on Sunday, and during the week I go to a Novus Ordo Mass that is said in a very reverent way, where I believe that the priests believe that they are changing the bread and wine.”, Bp. Williamson at this juncture, nodded his head and spent 13 minutes to answer her question while making several remarks about the licitness of attending the “New Mass” of Paul VI.

It is reminded at this point also that Bishop Fellay had stated this very same licitness for the novus ordo mass on two separate occasions which caused the birth of a new catholic resistance to go against these, and many other, modernist errors within the neo-sspx. One quoted on January 21, 2013 by Cardinal Canizares prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (and therefore a senior Vatican official), said that Bishop Fellay once told him that:
“On one occasion, Bishop (Bernard) Fellay, who is the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, came to see me and said, “We just came from an abbey that is near Florence. If Archbishop (Marcel) Lefebvre had seen how they celebrated there, he would not have taken the step that he did”… The missal used at that celebration was the Paul VI Missal in its strictest form.”

www.truetrad.com/index.php/the-truth/problems-in-the-sspx/slow-subtle-poison-from-the-sspx/all-poison-newest-first/233-bishop-fellay-s-scandalous-comment-in-favor-of-the-new-mass
And the other in Bishop Fellay’s Doctrinal Declaration of April 15, 2012:
“7. We declare that we recognise the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II.”

www.therecusant.com/doctrinalpreamble-15apr2012
To understand that the new mass is illegitimate and why Archbishop Lefebvre always contested the legitimacy of the liturgical revolution of 1969, there is an article [still up] on the sspx.org website that explains this here sspx.org/en/new-mass-legit

In return to Bp. Williamson remarks that the novus ordo mass for him is legitimate to worship God, and with fairness that he had also made an intermix of other comments that may throw one off, such as, “the new mass is a key part of the new religion and the worldwide apostasy, and to stay away from the new mass”, such comments do not refer away from his intention of legality in his mind. It is in his following arguments to answer this woman’s question that are, and yet not based on catholic principles, rather on protestant notions and revolutionary thinking.

Bishop Williamson states: “While the new religion is false, is dangerous, and it strangles grace, and it’s helping many people to lose the faith, at the same time there are cases where it can be used and is used to build the faith.”

“Therefore there are cases when even the Novus Ordo Mass can be attended with an effect of building one’s faith instead of losing it.”


“Stay away from the Novus Ordo. But exceptionally, if you’re watching and praying, even there you may find the grace of God. If you do, make use of it in order to sanctify your soul.”

“If they
[the lay people] can trust their own judgement, that attending the New Mass will do them more good than harm spiritually.”


He states as the “golden rule” and “absolute rule of rules” the following: “Do whatever you need to nourish your faith.”

And: “There are Eucharistic miracles in the New Mass.”; “Ask a priest you trust and heed his advice — maybe.”; “Decide for yourself.”; “If you can trust your own judgment, use your own judgment.”; “All of this is just my opinion and almost heresy.”; “Maybe none of this should be said in public.”; ect.

It does not need to be demonstrated that the first end of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered primarily and essentially for the worship of God, and is not determined by what it does for the individual or likes or dislikes of opinion or preference. Bishop Williamson is expressing that Holy Mass is principally and essentially a spiritual aid to the believer, rather than the Church’s solemn worship of the Most Holy Trinity.

Like Bp. Fellay, Bp. Williamson had stated that the Novus Ordo Mass is legitimate to attend for the benefit of the individual and will fulfil the ends of catholic obligation toward the worship of God - “Do whatever you need to nourish your faith.”

“[As] Bishop Fellay is striving to incorporate the Society of Saint Pius X into the Novus Ordo structures precisely to work from within them, and to help bring about a conservative Novus Ordo religion, since he has no intrinsic objection to the New Mass or Vatican II. Bishop Williamson hands to Bishop Fellay on a silver platter all of the logic for such a reconciliation, and at the same time destroys the theological underpinning of his own [loose independent] resistance movement.” (excerpt from In Veritate).

Below is both the conference of Bishop Williamson and a very good article in five points from Bishop Sanborn* (In Veritate): “A Response to Bishop Williamson concerning Attendance at the New Mass”. This article explains well Bishop Williamson’s position on the New Mass which logically in itself leads to reconciliation with the Modernists.

We already know through Bishop Williamson’s many Elesion Comments that he has opened the door in compromise to serve the ideas of other trad-ecumanical groups and the novus ordo, and to advice people to go to their such priests: “As for the Mass, 20 years ago one might not have hesitated to say, it must be a Society of St Pius X Mass. Today, that is no longer so sure. I would say, go rather by the priest than by his Congregation, or label.” (Eleison Comments #431: Father's Distress stmarcelinitiative.com/fathers-distress/ ).

These foreign thoughts and position of Bishop Williamson do NOT represent the catholic resistance of antiquity to fight against the enemies of our Lord and his cross in any and all fashion of error in time and in all generations.

[*Note: as Bishop Sanborn is a sedevacantist, and in no way do I approve of his position, these five points of his article referenced is a good analysis without any sedevacantist views involved.]

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CHRIST OR BELIAL?

A Response to Bishop Williamson concerning Attendance at the New Mass

July 29, 2015 by Bp. Sanborn

inveritateblog.com/2015/07/29/christ-or-belial/

On June 28th of this year, Bishop Williamson gave a conference to a gathering of people in Connecticut, followed by questions and answers.

A woman asked him whether it was permissible to attend the New Mass. Bishop Williamson says that, under certain circumstances, it is permissible to actively participate in the New Mass.

Here I will analyze his answer. I must quote him heavily, since I do not want to misrepresent his position in any way by presenting merely a few selected comments.

He starts out by saying that the New Mass is a “key part of the new religion, a major part of the worldwide apostasy.” Yet he states as the “golden rule” and “absolute rule of rules” the following: “Do whatever you need to nourish your faith.” He then explains: “Some Novus Ordo priests are nourishing and building the faith in the Novus Ordo parish.” “There have been eucharistic miracles with the Novus Ordo Mass. They are still occurring.”

He then enunciates this very odd principle: “While the new religion is false, is dangerous, and it strangles grace, and it’s helping many people to lose the faith, at the same time there are cases where it it can be used and is used to build the faith.”

Finally he comes to what he calls the essential principle: “Do whatever you need to do to keep the faith.”

He makes the decision to attend an entirely personal one: “You make your own judgements.” “I’ve got to make my own decisions in my own circumstances.”

He sums up by saying: “Therefore there are cases when even the Novus Ordo Mass can be attended with an effect of building one’s faith instead of losing it.” “Stay away from the Novus Ordo. But exceptionally, if you’re watching and praying, even there you may find the grace of God. If you do, make use of it in order to sanctify your soul.”

He concludes the answer to the question in this way: “If they [the lay people] can trust their own judgement, that attending the New Mass will do them more good than harm spiritually…But it does harm in itself. There is no doubt about that. It is a rite designed to undermine Catholics’ faith, and to turn their belief away from God towards man.”

Finally there is the coup de grace: “The whole of the new religion, and the Novus Ordo Mass is an essential part of the new religion, is designed to get you away from the Catholic Faith…”

Analysis of Bishop Williamson’s Statements

Point # 1. The New Mass is either Catholic worship or it is non-Catholic worship. There is no third possibility. In order that a Mass be Catholic, it must (a) contain a valid Catholic rite of consecration; (b) be offered by a validly ordained Catholic priest who is in union with the Catholic hierarchy, and who is authorized by that hierarchy to offer the Mass in the name of the whole Church; (c) Catholic ceremonies, that is, ceremonies which express the Catholic truth concerning the Mass. If any of these elements should be lacking, it would not be a Catholic Mass, and it would be a mortal sin to attend it.

If we concentrate only on the question of Catholic ceremonies, it is clear that the New Mass is non-Catholic worship. This fact has been demonstrated over the past forty-five years time and time again, mostly by Archbishop Lefebvre himself, who called it the Mass of Luther.

Bishop Williamson is right in saying that Archbishop Lefebvre never considered the New Mass to be necessarily invalid. He did consider it, however, to be a very bad thing for the precise reason that its ceremonies did not express the Catholic truth concerning the Mass and the priesthood. This doctrine was drilled into our heads by the Archbishop at Ecône. Bishop Williamson himself says it: “It is a rite designed to undermine Catholics’ faith, and to turn their belief away from God towards man.”

The Anglican communion service, for example, contains a valid consecration formula, but it is non-Catholic worship because the surrounding prayers convey error and heresy concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the priesthood. The same is true of the New Mass. The same is true of the Mass of Luther.

For this reason, ever since 1969, Catholics all over the world have been avidly resisting and rejecting the New Mass, even though it was promulgated by Paul VI, precisely because it is non-Catholic worship. If it is Catholic worship, then why are we resisting it? If it is non-Catholic worship, then how could we attend it?

One cannot say that “a rite designed to undermine Catholics’ faith” is Catholic worship, and pleasing to God. It is an abomination in God’s sight, and this fact is the very reason for our decades-long persistent rejection of it.

Point # 2. The Catholic Mass is not primarily a spiritual pick-me-up. Bishop Williamson, early in the response to the woman’s question, stated as the golden rule and the absolute rule of rules: “Do whatever you need to do to nourish your faith.”

Let it be said, first of all, that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered primarily and essentially for the worship of God, and not as a fervor stimulant for our spiritual lives. It is accurate that any true worship of God, even Miraculous Medal devotions, will have as a side effect the increase of fervor and devotion in our souls. In no case, however, is any act of worship directed primarily or essentially toward the increase of personal piety.

The principle which Bishop Williamson gives here — “Do whatever you need to do to nourish your faith.” — is utterly protestant. For the protestant all worship consists solely of an interior act of praise and thanksgiving to God. The protestant’s altar is his heart. His worship is consequently completely subjective, as is his faith. The purpose of external protestant worship, i.e., whatever they do on Sundays at their churches, is to excite the heart towards feelings of faith. For this reason, protestant worship can vary from being very Catholic in its trappings, such as that of the High Anglicans, to being something very low and vulgar, such as that of the pentecostalists. What is the golden rule for protestants which makes all of it true worship? It is exactly what Bishop Williamson said: “Do whatever you need to do to nourish your faith.”

The statement is also modernist. Modernism utterly subjectivizes religion. Religion is your own interior religious experience, and dogma must evolve according as your religious experience evolves. To tell someone that the absolute rule of rules is to “do whatever you need to do to nourish your faith” means that our interior faith is what justifies the external worship, whatever it may be.

Consequently the modernist could just as easily say that a balloon Mass nourishes his faith, or a clown Mass, or any other kind of liturgical aberration.

The Catholic position is that what nourishes our faith is Catholic doctrine. Pope Pius XII said in his encyclical Mediator Dei: “Let the rule of prayer determine the rule of belief.” (no. 48), which means, as he explains, that the liturgy must reflect Catholic truth: “The liturgy is a profession of eternal truths.” (ibid.) The Pontiff also says in the same paragraph that the liturgy receives its doctrine from the teachings of the Church, and that it is also right to say: “Let the rule of belief determine the rule of prayer.”

Catholic liturgical doctrine, therefore, declares that there is a tight and mutual connection between Catholic dogma and Catholic liturgy. Consequently, the only liturgy which could nourish our faith, according to Pius XII, would be one which is determined by Catholic dogma.

How then could the New Mass nourish one’s faith? The only way in which it could is if it reflects Catholic truth, i.e., as Pius XII says, if “it is a profession of eternal truths.”

If the New Mass is a profession of eternal truths, however, then in what way is it bad, and why do we resist it and reject it?

It is obviously not a profession of eternal truths, as everyone knows, and especially Bishop Williamson, who said: “It is a rite designed to undermine Catholics’ faith, and to turn their belief away from God towards man.”

The conclusion is that Bishop Williamson is thoroughly mixed up, is totally inconsistent, is tainted by protestant and modernist thinking, and lays all the logical groundwork for a reconciliation with the modernists, for him the dreaded Fellay-ism.

Point # 3. Bishop Williamson’s posi-tion on the New Mass logically leads to reconciliation with the Modernists. Bishop Williamson sees the new religion and its New Mass as something gray, that is, as something designed to destroy your faith, but if properly understood, could actually nourish your faith.

He says: “While the new religion is false, is dangerous, and it strangles grace, and it’s helping many people to lose the faith, at the same time there are cases where it it can be used and is used to build the faith.”

He cites the following as proof of this general principle: “Some Novus Ordo priests are nourishing and building the faith in the Novus Ordo parish.” “There have been eucharistic miracles with the Novus Ordo Mass. They are still occurring.”

Let us analyze these statements. If Novus Ordo priests can nourish and build the faith by being conservative Novus Ordo priests, then we must conclude that the conservative use of the New Mass nourishes and builds the faith. If this is true, then certainly the use of the traditional Latin Mass in the context of the new religion would build and nourish the faith.

Logically this principle leads to this conclusion: that we must remain in the Novus Ordo, seek out conservative priests, go to Motu Proprio Masses, and try to resolve the problems of the Church from within the Novus Ordo. It means that there is nothing wrong intrisically with the New Mass, but that it is a vehicle of destroying one’s faith only when it is not offered conservatively.

Bishop Fellay is striving to incorporate the Society of Saint Pius X into the Novus Ordo structures precisely to work from within them, and to help bring about a conservative Novus Ordo religion, since he has no intrinsic objection to the New Mass or Vatican II. Bishop Williamson hands to Bishop Fellay on a silver platter all of the logic for such a reconciliation, and at the same time destroys the theological underpinning of his own resistance movement.

Point # 4. Miracles are performed by God only in confirmation of the truth. Bishop Williamson cites four eucharistic miracles, claiming that there are yet others, which have taken place at the New Mass. He does this in order to prove that the Novus Ordo Mass has the ability to give grace and sanctify souls.

It is Catholic doctrine that God performs miracles only in confirmation of the truth. It would be blasphemous to assert that He does so in confirmation of error, since it would be against His holiness and truthfulness to do so.

Yet Bishop Williamson condemns the New Mass as something pernicious: “The whole of the new religion, and the Novus Ordo Mass is an essential part of the new religion, is designed to get you away from the Catholic Faith…” “It is a rite designed to undermine Catholics’ faith, and to turn their belief away from God towards man.”

What, however, is the conclusion from Bishop Williamson’s claim that there have been eucharisitic miracles at the New Mass? The answer is very simple: The New Mass is a holy Catholic Mass which sanctifies souls. God says so with His miracles!

If this be so, then why on earth are we resisting the New Mass? Why do we not just go to it, and be happy with it? According to Bishop Williamson, God has given His stamp of approval to the New Mass.

Point # 5. Who am I to judge? Bishop Williamson reduces the question of attendance to a completely personal judgement. For him, the New Mass and the new religion in general are not intrinsically wrong. They are wrong only in certain circumstances, that is, when they threaten your interior faith. If you take measures to deflect these dangers, then the New Mass and new religion can actually give grace and sanctify your soul.

For this reason he divorces the decision about attendance at the New Mass from all objective reality, and makes the whole thing a personal choice: “You make your own judgements.” “I’ve got to make my own decisions in my own circumstances.”

Although he complains in the same speech of Bergoglio’s subjectivization of morality, is not Bishop Williamson doing exactly the same thing here? Indeed, if the New Mass is objectively non-Catholic worship — and we firmly hold that it is — then to attend it would be a far greater sin than that of sodomy. Bergoglio pronounced his unforgettable “Who am I to judge?” about an allegedly sodomite priest in the Vatican. Does not Bishop Williamson, in saying that you must judge for yourselves, detach attendance at the New Mass from any objective and clear norm?

We see again in Bishop Williamson the protestant and modernist influence by making the decision about the central act of Catholic worship a purely subjective judgement.

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Here is the Q&A segment of that conference.


 
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Deus Vult

Well-Known Member
Great post Machabees with the complete details for all to understand from whatever way you look at it.
I often recall this story of the conversion of Claude Newman when I think about his response in this conference and also when the red light issue comes up.
Count how many Masses Claude Newman attended when you read the story below. Not that I would deny the many graces received from attending a valid Mass, but if people are just "clocking in" to as many Masses as they can, with no regard to whether they are legitimate or not, I just wonder.
Archbishop Lefebvre is our guide and he made it clear that the N.O. Mass is not legitimate.
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The Story Of Claude Newman And The Miraculous Medal

The True Account of Prisoner Claude Newman (1944) by John Vennari, from the March 2001 issue of “Catholic Family News.”

The following true story of Claude Newman took place in Mississippi in 1944. The account was told by Father O’Leary, a priest from Mississippi, who was directly involved with the events. He has left for posterity an audio recording it.

Claude Newman was a negro man who worked the fields for a landowner. He had married when he was 17 years old to a woman of the same age. One day, two years later, he was out plowing the fields. Another worker ran to tell Claude that his wife was screaming from the house. Immediately Claude ran into his house and found a man attacking his wife. Claude saw red, grabbed an axe and split the man’s head open. When they rolled the man over, they discovered that it was the favorite employee of the landowner for whom Claude worked. Claude was arrested. He was later sentenced for murder and condemned to die in the electric chair.

While he was in jail awaiting execution, he shared a cell-block of some sort with four other prisoners. One night, the five men were sitting around talking and they ran out of conversation. Claude noticed a medal on a string around another prisoner’s neck. He asked what it was, and the Catholic boy told him that it was a medal. Claude said, “What is a medal?” The Catholic boy could not explain what a medal was or what its purpose was. At that point, and in anger, the Catholic boy snatched the medal from his own neck and threw it on the floor at Claude’s feet with a curse and a cuss, telling him to take the thing.

Claude picked up the medal, and with permission from the prison attendants, placed it on a string around his own neck. To him it was simply a trinket, but he wanted to wear it.
During the night, sleeping on top of his cot, he was awakened with a touch on his wrist. And there stood, as Claude told the priest later, the most beautiful woman that God ever created. At first he was very frightened. The Lady calmed down Claude, and then said to him, “If you would like Me to be your Mother, and you would like to be My child, send for a priest of the Catholic Church.” With that She disappeared.

Claude immediately became terrified, and started to scream, “a ghost, a ghost”, and fled to the cell of one of the other prisoners. He then started screaming that he wanted a Catholic priest.

Father O’Leary , the priest who tells the story, was called first thing the next morning. He arrived and found Claude who told him of what had happened the night before. Then Claude, along with the other four men in his cell-block, asked for religious instruction, for catechism.

Initially, Father O’Leary had difficulty believing the story. The other prisoners told the priest that everything in the story was true; but of course, they neither saw nor heard the vision of the Lady.

Father O’Leary promised to teach them catechism, as they had requested. He went back to his parish, told the rector what had happened, and returned to the prison the next day to give instruction.

It was then that the priest learned that Claude Newman could neither read nor write at all. The only way he could tell if a book was right-side-up was if the book contained a picture. Claude had never been to school. And his ignorance of religion was even more profound. He knew nothing at all about religion. He did not know who Jesus was. He did not know anything except that there was a God.

Claude began receiving instructions, and the other prisoners helped him with his studies. After a few days, two of the religious Sisters from Father O’Leary’s parish-school obtained permission from the warden to come to the prison. They wanted to meet Claude, and they also wanted to visit the women in the prison. On another floor of the prison, the Sisters then started to teach some of the women-prisoners catechism as well.

Several weeks passed, and it came time when Father O’Leary was going to give instructions about the Sacrament of Confession. The Sisters too sat in on the class. The priest said to the prisoners, “Okay, boys, today I’m going to teach you about the Sacrament of Confession.”

Claude said, “Oh, I know about that!”

“The Lady told me,” said Claude, “that when we go to confession we are kneeling down not before a priest, but we’re kneeling down by the Cross of Her Son. And that when we are truly sorry for our sins, and we confess our sins, the Blood He shed flows down over us and washes us free from all sins.”

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Father O’Leary and the Sisters sat stunned with their mouths wide open. Claude thought they were angry and said, “Oh don’t be angry, don’t be angry, I didn’t mean to blurt it out.”

The priest said, “We’re not angry. We’re just amazed. You have seen Her again?”

Claude said, “Come around the cell-block away from the others.”

When they were alone, Claude said to the priest, “She told me that if you doubted me or showed hesitancy, I was to remind you that lying in a ditch in Holland, in 1940, you made a vow to Her which She’s still waiting for you to keep.” And, Father O’Leary recalls, “Claude told me exactly what the vow was.”

This convinced Father O’Leary that Claude was telling the truth about his visions of Our Lady.

They then returned to the catechism class on Confession. And Claude kept telling the other prisoners, “You should not be afraid to go to confession. You’re really telling God your sins, not this priest, or any priest. We’re telling God our sins.” Then Claude said, “You know, the Lady said [that Confession is] something like a telephone. We talk through the priest to God and God talks back to us through the priest.”

About a week later, Father O’Leary was preparing to teach the class about the Blessed Sacrament. The Sisters were present for this too. Claude indicated that the Lady had also taught him about Holy Communion, and he asked if he could tell the priest what She said. The priest agreed immediately. Claude related, “The Lady told me that in Communion, I will only see what looks like a piece of bread. But She told me that THAT is really and truly Her Son. And that He will be with me just for a few moments as He was with Her before He was born in Bethlehem. And that I should spend my time like She did, in all Her time with Him, in loving Him, adoring Him, thanking Him, praising Him and asking Him for blessings. I shouldn’t be bothered by anybody else or anything else. But I should spend those few minutes with Him.”

Eventually they finished the instructions, Claude was received into the Catholic Church, and the time came for Claude to be executed. He was to be executed at five minutes after twelve, midnight.

The sheriff asked him, “Claude, you have the privilege of a last request. What do you want?”

“Well,” said Claude, “you’re all shook up. The jailer is all shook up. But you don’t understand. I’m not going to die. Just this body. I’m going to be with Her. So, can I have a party?”

“What do you mean?”, asked the sheriff.

“A Party!” said Claude. “Will you give Father permission to bring in some cakes and ice cream and will you allow the prisoners on the second floor to be turned loose in the main room so that we can all be together and have a party?”

“Somebody might attack Father,” cautioned the warden.

Claude turned to the men who were standing by and said, “Oh no, they won’t. Will you fellas?

So, the priest visited a wealthy patron of the parish, and she supplied the ice cream and cake. They had their party.

Afterwards, because Claude had requested it, they made a Holy Hour. The priest had brought prayer books from the Church and they all said together the Stations of the Cross, and a had a Holy Hour, without the Blessed Sacrament.

Afterwards, the men were put back in their cells. The priest went to the chapel to get the Blessed Sacrament so that he could give Claude Holy Communion.

Father O’Leary returned to Claude’s cell. Claude knelt on one side of the bars, the priest knelt on the other, and they prayer together as the clock ticked toward Claude’s execution.

Fifteen minutes before the execution, the sheriff came running up the stairs shouting, “Reprieve, Reprieve, the Governor has given a two-week reprieve!” Claude had not been aware that the sheriff and the District Attorney were trying to get a stay of execution for Claude to save his life. When Claude found out, he started to cry.

The priest and the sheriff thought it was a reaction of joy because he was not going to be executed. But Claude said, “Oh you men don’t know. And Father, you don’t know. If you ever looked into Her face, and looked into Her eyes, you wouldn’t want to live another day.”

Claude then said, “What have I done wrong these past weeks that God would refuse me my going home?” And the priest said that Claude sobbed as one who was brokenhearted.

The sheriff left the room. The priest remained and gave Claude Holy Communion. Claude eventually quieted down. Then Claude said, “Why? Why must I still remain here for two weeks?”

The priest had a sudden idea.

He reminded Claude about a prisoner in the jail who hated Claude intensely. This prisoner had led a horribly immoral life, and he too was sent to be executed.

The priest said, “Maybe Our Blessed Mother wants you to offer this denial of being with Her for his conversion.” The priest continued, “Why don’t you offer to God every moment you are separated from Her for this prisoner so that he will not be separated from God for all eternity.”

Claude agreed, and asked the priest to teach him the words to make the offering. The priest complied. At the time, the only two people who knew about this offering were Claude and Father O’Leary.

The next day, Claude said to the priest, “That prisoner hated me before, but Oh! Father, how he hates me now!” The priest said, “Well, that’s a good sign.”
Two weeks later, Claude was executed.

Father O’Leary remarked, “I’ve never seen anyone go to his death as joyfully and happily. Even the official witnesses and the newspaper reporters were amazed. They said they couldn’t understand how anyone could go and sit in the electric chair actually beaming with happiness.”

His last words to Father O’Leary were, “Father, I will remember you. And whenever you have a request, ask me, and I will ask Her.”

Two months later, the white man, who had hated Claude, was to be executed. Father O’Leary said, “This man was the filthiest, most immoral person I had ever come across.” His hatred for God, for everything spiritual,” said the priest, “defied description.”

Just before his execution, the county doctor pleaded with this man to at least kneel down and say the Our Father before the sheriff would come for him.

The prisoner spat in the doctor’s face.

When he was strapped into the electric chair, the sheriff said to him, “If you have something to say, say it now.”

The condemned man started to blaspheme.

All of a sudden the condemned man stopped, and his eyes became fixed on the corner of the room, and his face turned to one of absolute horror.
He screamed.

Turning to the sheriff, he then said, “Sheriff, get me a priest!”

Now, Father O’Leary had been in the room because the law required a clergyman to be present at executions. The priest, however, had hidden himself behind some reporters because the condemned man had threatened to curse God if he saw a clergyman at all.

Father O’Leary immediately went to the condemned man. The room was cleared of everyone else, and the priest heard the man’s confession. The man said he had been a Catholic, but turned away from his religion when he was 18 because of his immoral life.

When everyone returned to the room, the sheriff asked the priest, “What made him change his mind?”

“I don’t know ” said Father O’Leary, “I didn’t ask him.”

The sheriff said, “Well, I’ll never sleep if I don’t.”

The Sheriff turned to the condemned man and asked, “Son, what changed your mind?”

The prisoner responded, “Remember that black man Claude – who I hated so much? Well he’s standing there [he pointed], over in that corner. And behind him with one hand on each shoulder is the Blessed Mother. And Claude said to me, ‘I offered my death in union with Christ on the Cross for your salvation. She has obtained for you this gift, to see your place in Hell if you do not repent.’ I was shown my place in Hell, and that’s when I screamed.”

This, then, is the power of Our Lady.

We see many parallels between these facts of Claude Newman story and the Message of Fatima in 1917. There is the emphasis on:

Sacramental Confession,

Holy Communion,

Making sacrifices for Sinners,

the vision of Hell.

“Many souls go to Hell” said Our Lady of Fatima, “because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.”

———————————
footnote:
The promise Fr. O’Leary made to Our Lady in 1940 from a ditch in Holland (the proof Claude gave the priest that Our Lady really was appearing to him) was this: that when he could, he would build a church in honor of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. He did just that in 1947. He had been transferred to Clarkesdale, Mississippi in 1945 when a group Black Catholic laymen asked to have a church built there. The Bishop of Natchez had been sent $5000 by Archbishop Cushing of Boston for the “Negro missions.” The church is still there today.
 
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