Clearly we were accused of being members of "Action Française," Nazis and fascists and every other pejorative label because we were anti-revolutionary and anti-liberal.
Thus an inquiry was made. The Cardinal Archbishop of Milan (Card. Schuster) was sent to the seminary. He wasn't the least of the Cardinals. He was in fact a Benedictine of great holiness and intelligence. He had been designated by Pope Pius XI to make the inquiry at the French Seminary so as to determine if the accusations of Francisque Gay were true or not. The inquiry took place. The result was: the French Seminary functions perfectly well under the direction of Fr. Le Floch. We have absolutely nothing to reproach the Seminary Rector with. But this did not suffice.
Three months later a new inquiry was begun, this time with the order to do away with Fr. Le Floch. The new inquiry was made by a member of a Roman Congregation. He concluded, in effect, that Fr. Le Floch was a friend of "Action Française," that he was dangerous for the Seminary and that he had to be asked to resign. This is just what happened.
In 1926 the Holy See requested Fr. Le Floch to kindly abandon his post as Rector of the French Seminary. He was overwhelmed with sorrow. Fr. Le Floch had never been a politician. He was traditional, attached to the doctrines of the Church and the Popes. In addition he had been a great friend of Pope St. Pius X, who had had great confidence in him. It was precisely because he was a friend of St. Pius X that he was the enemy of the progressive wing.
It was at the same time that I was at the French Seminary that Cardinal Billot was also attacked. He was a first class theologian at the time and remains today well known and studied in our Seminaries. Monseigneur Billot, Cardinal of the Holy Church, was deposed. The purple was taken away from him and he was sent away in penance to Castelgandolfo, quite close to Albano, where the Jesuits have a house. He was forbidden to leave under pretext of having connections with "Action Française."
In fact Cardinal Billot never belonged to "Action Française." He did, however, hold Maurras in high esteem and had cited him in his theology books. In the second volume concerning the Church (De Ecclesia), for example, Cardinal Billot accomplished a magnificent study of liberalism where he took, in the form of notes, several quotations from Maurras. This was a mortal sin! This was all they could find to depose Cardinal Billot. It is not a minor tragedy, for he was one of the great theologians of his time and yet he was deposed as a Cardinal and reduced to the state of a simple priest, for he was not a Bishop. (At that time there were still some Cardinal deacons.) It was already the persecution.
OPE PlUS XI UNDERWENT THE INFLUENCE OF THE PROGRESSIVE WING
Pope Pius XI himself fell under the influence of the progressives who were already present in Rome. For we see a distinct difference from the Popes before and after. But nevertheless Pope Pius XI at the same time wrote some magnificent encyclicals. He was not a liberal. "Divini Redemptoris," his encyclical against Communism was magnificent. So also was his encyclical on Christ the King, which established the feast of Christ The King and proclaimed the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His encyclical on Christian Education is absolutely admirable and remains today a fundamental document for those who defend Catholic schools.
If on the level of doctrine Pope Pius XI was an admirable man, he was weak in the order of practical action. He was easily influenced. It is thus that he was very strongly influenced at the time of the Mexican Civil War and gave the Cristeros, who were in the process of defending the Catholic religion and combating for Christ the King, the order to have confidence in the government and to put down their arms. As soon as they had put down their arms they were all massacred. This horrifying massacre is still remembered today in Mexico. Pope Pius XI placed confidence in the government who deceived him. Afterwards, he was visibly very upset. He could not imagine how a government, which had promised to treat with honor those who defended their Faith, could have then gone on to massacre them. Thus thousands of Mexicans were killed on account of their Faith.
Already at the beginning of this century we find certain situations, which announce a division in the Church. Slowly we arrived at it, but the division was very definite just before the council.
Pope Pius XII was a great pope well in his writing as in his way of governing the Church. During the reign of Pius XII the Faith was firmly maintained. Naturally the liberals did not like him, for he brought back to mind the fundamental principles of theology and truth.
But then John XXIII came along. He had a totally different temperament than Pius XII. John XXIII was a very simple and open man. He did not see problems anywhere.
When he decided to hold a Synod Rome they said to him, "But Holy Father, a Synod has to be prepared. At least one year is necessary and perhaps two so as to prepare such a meeting, in order that numerous fruits be gained and that reforms be truly studied and then applied so that your diocese of Rome might draw profit from it. All this cannot be done straight away and in the space of two or three months followed by two weeks of meetings and then all will be fine. It is not possible."
"Oh yes, yes I know, I know, but it going to be a small Synod. We can prepare it in a few months and everything will be just fine."
Thus the Synod was rapidly prepared: a few commissions at Rome, everybody very busy and then two weeks of meetings and all was over with. Pope John XXIII was happy his small Synod had been held, but the results were nil. Nothing had changed in the diocese of Rome. The situation was exactly the same as before.