Since late in 2018, people have been sending me personal emails suggesting that I listen to Fr. Michel Rodrigue whose talks were being uploaded on You Tube. A few suggestions were sent to me via our TNRSAnswers email service. Since last fall, some commenters have, intermittently, pointed readers to new You Tube offerings from Fr. Michel. While Charlie has given us a lot of latitude when people refer to their favorite apparitions and messages, we are ever redirected to the true purpose of why we have formed this community: to live out the core message fostered here: “Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around us.” The deeper we get into the vicissitudes of this Storm, the sweeter and more strengthening this message has become.
When we were at TNRS, I actually reread Charlie’s writing more than a few times… some pieces more than others. I laughed when I once – among many times – popped a Charlie quote into my comment and he then quipped: “You remember what I said better than I do.” Seriously now, how often he has reminded us – at TNRS and ASOH – to let go of the fascination with trying to figure out God’s Plan. How often we’ve been reminded that interpreting prophecy is a most intricate and precarious process. Just last November, Charlie wrote in his piece, My Hierarchy of First Things:
“It may surprise some, but at the very bottom of my tools of discernment is private revelation, including my own. It is exceedingly rare that I have looked to private revelation as a tool to decide what to do. There are too many frauds and delusions in the mix for it to be reliable. Even when it is authentic, it is unbelievably hard to interpret accurately – and often even partially so…
If we use the best of it as a sort of terrain map to gauge the challenges we face, it can be useful in helping to apply Scripture and the Magisterium to those particular circumstances. But if you ground your discernment and decisions on private revelation, you build your house on sand. It is easy to get enthused into thinking you know God’s secret plan by letting private revelation become your magisterium, but to do so requires that you ignore almost all of Scripture and the experience of the authentic Old Testament prophets who rarely knew more than the next right step ahead of them, even when they were prophesying about things hundreds of years in the future. However straightforward it sounds, it almost never is. Without the benefit of hindsight, who could have understood what Jesus meant by His assertion that if the temple were torn down, he would re-build it in three days? Or his insistence that we must eat His body and drink His blood to have life within us? God does not so much disclose Himself to us as He unveils His presence – and the final veil does not fall until the end of time. As St. Paul says, so long as we are here, we see as if through a glass, darkly. (see 1 Corinthians 13:12)
The best of private revelation is like a weather report, useful in determining how to outfit ourselves. But when it comes to action, we must stick to the hard bedrock of the land and roads as expressed by Scripture and the Magisterium through obedience to the lawful orders of legitimate authority set over us by God.”
These reminders led me to a decision I made on Sunday after it came to my attention that Fr. Michel, whose writings and videos are featured at a new website, has instructed those who have been featuring his material on their site to clarify the standing of Fr. Michel’s Bishop Gilles Lemay concerning the alleged messages Father has received which have been receiving wide attention. The following passage was posted on the new website:
“On April 23rd, 2020, Fr. Michel Rodrigue informed us that his bishop, Rev. Gilles Lemay, does not support Fr. Michel’s messages; he stated to Fr. Michel, in writing, that he does not support the idea of “the Warning, the chastisements, the third World War, the Era of Peace, any construction of refuges, et cetera.” Fr. Michel, wishing to remain obedient, has asked Countdown to the Kingdom to remove any mention on this website of his bishop’s support of his messages, which we have done.”
Unfortunately, in my assessment, those who followed the directive requested by Bishop Lemay went on to state that they are keeping all of Fr. Michel’s material on the site. I don’t think this is a wise decision. To consider why, let’s reread another passage from My Hierarchy of First Things:
“When I am given direction by my Bishop, whether publicly or privately (and I have been given both – and, over time, by more than one Bishop), my question is NOT whether his judgement is better or worse than mine. That is utterly irrelevant. My questions are whether it is within the sphere of his legitimate authority and whether it is a lawful order. If it satisfies both conditions, I obey, for in doing so I know that I am being obedient to God by my obedience to the hierarchy He set up. If I have serious and weighty concerns over a lawful order, I certainly have the right to discuss it with the authority over me, but it is a right I use very sparingly so as not to be merely willful (although my director Priests might dispute that on occasion. Thanks be to God, we developed such a good, warm relationship that our visits were usually a mutual search for what was right and true – and were mutually rewarding.) To be entirely candid, often when I have gotten lawful direction, I have been relieved because that is, at least, one decision I don’t have to make, knowing that even if it is temporarily errant, the obedience itself is pleasing to God.
Understand that, in Christianity, obedience is not a matter of the lesser submitting to the greater. Rather, it is a means of opening up channels of grace. Both disobedience and thoughtless direction clog the channels of grace. If I have been disobedient, the thoughtfulness of my superior’s direction helps open the clog. If my superior has been thoughtless, my obedience helps open the clog.”
While the promoters of Fr. Michel’s messages on their website have done what Bishop Lemay requested, I have discerned, in the spirit of obedience, to ban Fr. Michel’s material from A Sign of Hope. Remember, it is the local Bishop who has the legitimate authority and responsibility, given by the Church, to investigate and make decisions concerning alleged private revelation received by someone in his Diocese. And, while the Bishop has not yet conducted a formal investigation, he has clearly stated he does NOT support the ideas in the messages. Therefore, I think it is the greater wisdom to rest from the alleged messages and trust that God will open new doors if the messages are of Him.
I understand that Fr. Michel’s new religious order which he founded, The Apostolic Fraternity of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, has been growing and there is a new monastery under construction. I’ve also read that Father’s work includes preparing priests for the future of the Catholic Church. May God bless Fr. Michel and may his good works for the Lord flourish as we pray for all our Priests!