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Modernism: Problems, Causes, Remedies

Conference of His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of
Saint Pius X. Given at Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 7,
I am going to give an overview of the current situation in the Catholic Church which will be
loosely divided into three parts:
A description of the situation by an assembly of assorted facts, My reflections on the
causes of this situation, and Remedies to be sought.
"The Church Is in Anarchy."
One of our faithful in France wrote a letter to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger describing the
scandalous behavior of a particular French bishop. On behalf of the Cardinal, Msgr. Perl
answered, "Yes, youre right. The situation in the Church is anarchy. If you expect that an
order from Rome regarding the above will solve the situation, you are in total illusion." This
point is very important to understand. It means Rome has lost control. Oftentimes we hear the
solution to the crisis is to increase our fidelity to the pope and bishops. Yet, in his letter Msgr.
Perl admits bishops dont obey and anarchy is the result. The answer is to be faithful to the
bishops?! Illogical! The word to describe this insanity is "confusion." This confusion comes
from way back and now touches everything in the life of the Church. It starts with confusion
in doctrine.
The Enemy Sows Its Seed
In the 1950s Rome condemned a large number of theologians. In his encyclical, Humani
Generis, Pope Pius XII condemned the theory of Henri de Lubac, a Jesuit priest, that there is
no difference between nature and grace, between the natural and supernatural levels. This
condemnation required all Jesuits to stop teaching this theory or vacate their teaching
positions. Two years later a Dominican, Yves Congar, was condemned for his book on true
and false reform in the Church and was exiled to Jerusalem. At the same time, a Jesuit priest
in the US, John Courtney Murray, began teaching a new theory about the relations between
Church and State and was condemned by Rome. Just prior to Vatican II another Jesuit, Karl
Rahner, was forced to submit all his writings to the Holy Office on suspicion of Modernism.
A Benedictine, Dom Beaudoin, was made to do the same.
On the eve of Vatican II, a meeting of the central commission of the Council prepared a list
of the theologians who would assist the bishops during the Council. At this meeting,

Archbishop Lefebvre, one of the members of the commission, spoke up, "There is something
I do not understand. We have here a list of the proposed experts. We have a rule which
prohibits us to put on the list any theologian who has been condemned by the Church. On one
of the proposed lists there are three condemned theologians." After the meeting, Cardinal
Ottaviani took the Archbishop by the arm and said, "Its the Boss who wants it," that is to say,
Pope John XXIII. He made the rule that condemned theologians not be on the list and also
ordered that they be on the list!
Around the same time, Pope John XXIII published an encyclical about the importance of
Latin in the Catholic Church. Ten days after its release, a bishop speaking with Archbishop
Lefebvre attacked the Latin. Archbishop Lefebvre asked, "How do you dare to attack the
Latin after the pope has published a text on the defense of the Latin?"... "What I say is exactly
what the Pope thinks," replied this bishop. To find out for himself, Archbishop Lefebvre was
granted an audience with Pope John XXIII who demolished in an hour what he had written in
his encyclical ten days before!
The big intellectuals of the Council de Lubac, Congar, Rahner, Murraywere all
condemned because of their errors in the ten years preceding Vatican II! Today, what they
taught is now considered the doctrine of the Church!
Heres a story which shows the intellectual honesty of the condemned theologians. In the
aftermath of Vatican II, Yves Congar was quoted:
I had been given a very hard job during the Council. It was to prepare this part of the
document in which I was to prove that religious liberty is found in Holy Scripture, which it is
This is terrible! The contradiction in doctrine has given us the mess we are in. We have a
state of confusion in the Church. Here are some more recent examples of contradictions and
Cockle in the Papacy
Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter to prepare for the Jubilee Year 2000 titled,
Tertio Millennio Adveniente [On the Coming of the Third Millenium]. The word "adveniente"
refers to Advent, a literal concept of the Holy Father referring to the period of the Church
from Vatican II to the Year 2000. This "Advent" is the time of preparation for a new era.
Those who pretend the famous three zeroes of millenial years will usher in new eras have
been condemned in former times. Practically speaking, the pope is a milleniarist, but at the
same time Rome says its not milleniarism.

The Jubilee Year 2000 will sponsor inter-religious Christian and non-Christian meetings.
At the same time Rome insists it will not tolerate syncretism. What is syncretism if not this
kind of mixing of all religions? We worship the one Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. At
Assisi the Vicar of Christ prayed with people praying to the Great Thumb, with others
smoking the peace pipe, and others who adored Buddha. This syncretism is put into practice,
but Rome protests, "No, no, its not syncretism!"
In his encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II explained and defended the primacy of
the pope. Immediately after the correct teaching in the encyclical, he asks that new ways to
exercise the primacy be researched. It is a demolition of the primacy. You mean the popes of
the last 2000 years didnt know how to exercise their primacy?!
Inconsistencies in the Hierarchy
A few years ago Cardinal Ratzinger issued a text condemning the theology of liberation.
The first text was a clear condemnation. The second text was announced and it was said that
the second and the first had to be read in the light of the first and second respectively. But, in
the second version you find phrases which justify the theology of liberation. So, liberation
theology is simultaneously condemned and justified!
Last year, a Sri Lankan priest, Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, O. M. I., was excommunicated because
of the heresies he taught about the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church. Less than one year
later, his religious order had his excommunication lifted even though Fr. Tissa Balasuriya
preferred to sign his own text of abjuration rather than the one given him by Rome. After his
excommunication had been lifted, Fr. Balasuriya said he had absolutely no regrets, that he
had not taken anything back. So he continues to be the same heretic, but now is no longer
Two years ago there was a big movement in Austria to collect signatures establishing a
new Church, a Church where priests can marry, where women can be priests and so on. It
fomented a lot of turmoil, and so the bishops gathered delegates from the entire country to a
meeting. What were the propositions on which votes were taken?that laymen be consulted in
the ordination of bishops; that women be present at all levels of the hierarchy which do not
exercise the sacrament of Holy Orders; that married men be priests; that women be deacons;
that "divorced and remarried" go to Communion, etc. The least majority vote was 75%
Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter to the German bishops telling them Communion could
not be given to "divorced, remarried Catholics." All but three bishops rejected the order and
defended their priests doing the same. By his own admission, Cardinal Ratzinger says
"dialogue" is the only "obedience" remaining among the German bishops.

The Pope wrote again this year (1998) to the German bishops about abortion. For a woman
to have an abortion in Germany, she must first appear before a board of consultors for
counselling and receive a certificate of proof she has done so before she can submit to the
murder of her baby. By law, one third of the board of consultors are Catholic bishops. The
Pope wrote to forbid the German bishops to grant this certificate under pain of direct
cooperation in the abortion. In response, the German bishops held an extraordinary meeting
and agreed that in a years time they would obey the Popes order!
Two weeks later, the president of the German bishops conference said the papal
disposition on the matter was not applicable and the German bishops met again. This time
only two bishops favored obedience to the pope. All the others are directly cooperating in
At the end of November (1998), a Capuchin priest visited our seminary in Germany
wanting to join the Society of Saint Pius X. He had been forbidden to hear confessions
because he refused absolution to penitents who refused to avoid proximate occasions of
mortal sin. Six months ago, he was forbidden to celebrate Mass because he insisted on using
the (more traditional) First Eucharistic Prayer of the Canon of the New Mass!
A 78-year-old sister has joined us to escape the convent where every Sunday she was
obliged under obedience to watch television for two hours!
In one of the important ecclesiastical magazines of Holland (July, 1998), a bishop wrote
such scandalous things I had to check with the chancery who verified the words as his. In his
article, this bishop began: "When I die, I will not go to heaven, neither will I go to hell,
because these words are words which the Church has taken from the Middle Ages. They have
nothing to do with the reality. Science has now seen the heavens with powerful telescopes, so
these concepts are totally wrong and we can no longer speak of heaven and hell." He
continues by approving euthanasia, relations outside of marriage, and contraception. Finally,
he argues that 80% of Catholics are committing excommunicable offenses, but that since it
would be impossible to excommunicate four out of five Catholics we are safe to believe
whatever we want! Nothing happens to him!
In his book, The Salt of the Earth, Cardinal Ratzinger makes a keen analysis of the
situation in the Church and concludes that the Church as we have known it is finished! He
says what will remain are little groups which, like "the salt of the earth" will give some savor
to the earth, to the Catholic Church, otherwise it will be exterminated. Nevertheless the
Cardinal is happy because certain ecclesiastical movements are giving life to the Church, for
example, the charismatics. Though these movements are often controversial, he says, at least

theres life. Something is moving! There are true heretics amongst these ecclesiastical
movements, but that doesnt matter to the Cardinal.
A friend of ours in the Curia came to visit me recently. He told me a story that shows a
little bit what the Pope does or can do. The Pope, he told me, wanted to go to Fatima on the
occasion of the 80th anniversary of the first apparition, but didnt attend because he was not
invited! I didnt know the Pope needed to be invited to go somewhere! The Pope first asked
the bishop of Leiria [the diocese where Fatima is located], and the bishop deferred to the
bishops conference and did not give an answer. The Pope sent off a letter to this bishop and
asked that he be told to expect it. He never received it. The letter was intercepted by the
Secretary of State. Our friend in the Curia gave me the impression that the Pope has lost
control. He holds the office but has nothing important to say. He has big ideas about the
Jubilee Year 2000, but the rest is in the control of the Secretary of State. I will give you some
examples. One is about last years anticipated condemnation of the Society of Saint Pius X.
The Polish bishops are strongly prejudiced against our work in Poland which is very
intense and has become the topic of discussion in all the media there. We have learned that a
condemnation of the Society was motivated by the Polish bishops and that they suggested
several points for this condemnation. The Holy Father agreed and he entrusted Msgr. Perl to
draft the text which was completed and given to the Pope in June (1998). The Secretary of
State also received a copy and judged it to be inopportune. He advised it be dropped because
it would give us undue publicity. So, it was apparently dropped.
False Remedies: Ecumenism and Trad-Ecumenism
All is not well in Rome, that is for sure, and we should all be aware of it. In the circles of
the Ecclesia Dei Commission, there is a euphoria which says, "Look, we have been received
in Rome. Everything is fine. Cardinal Ratzinger has greeted us; the Pope has received us, he
has greeted the seminarians, so everything is fine." Well...
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Ecclesia Dei
Commission, the Fraternity of Saint Peter wanted a Pontifical High Mass and it asked
Cardinal Ratzinger to celebrate it. The Cardinal refused and so the Fraternity approached the
Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship in charge of the questions of
liturgy for the whole Church. This Cardinal agreed to celebrate the Mass, but the Secretary of
State intervened and informed him the Tridentine Mass was not the competence of the Prefect
of the Congregation for the Divine Worship! I think its very important to understand this. It
means that for the Secretary of State the Tridentine Mass is no longer the Mass of the
Catholic Church. The Latin Mass is only granted to a very little group to which has been
granted the freedom of a bird in a cage.

I know an Armenian [Orthodox] priest who was received into the Catholic Church recently.
The response he met in Rome when asking to be received into the Church was, "Do you have
the permission of your bishop?" According to the Balamand Statement [see The Angelus, Dec.
1997], you remember, Catholics must desist from proselytizing the Orthodox. Nevertheless,
the Armenian priest was received in the Catholic Church, but Rome felt obliged to apologize
to the Armenians, "We are sorry. We promise, its only one case; its not harmful to
ecumenical relations." The concessions made in the name of ecumenism are all from the
Catholic side. The Protestants are still Protestant, as are the Anglicans and so for the
Orthodox. The only changes are among the Catholics, who are losing great numbers.
Ecumenism is the practical destruction of the identity of the Church. The Society maintains
that this ecumenism is not Catholic.
Ecumenism is of Protestant origin, yet the Protestants are unable to arrive at any real unity!
In 1950, two years after its founding, the Ecumenical Council for the Churches (ECC)
determined that unity cannot be based on any concept of "Church." Some thought this unity
could be acquired in a unity of hierarchy and doctrine, others thought it would be achieved by
an umbrella agreement regarding faith, some thought it necessary only to agree on the
fundamental points of faith, and the rest believed an agreement of any kind would foster more
divisions! The Protestants have never known what kind of unity they want! They get together
trying to put in practice something which they can never get! That the Orthodox threatened to
boycott the ECC (December, 1998) clearly demonstrates the fruitlessness of this movement.
On the other hand, the Catholic Churchs prayers for Good Friday, which date from the
second century, include a series of prayers for schismatics, for heretics, for Jews, etc. to
return to the unity of the Church. This is what the Church has always sought for in its
relations with those who have left Her. The Catholic Church has unity; it cannot lose it. It
doesnt have to "invent" unity! It is one of the marks of the Catholic Church. True unity with
the Orthodox or the Protestants will be achieved by their conversion, their return, to the
Catholic Church. This is the common teaching of the Church throughout the centuries. False
dialogue does nothing but destroy the Church.
The Faith Is Gutted
There was a time when Catholics were at home with the liturgy anywhere in the world. It
was your Mass. Now, every church is different. You dont know whats happening.
Sometimes you dont even know if the Consecration was properly done. For those unsure of
the crisis, they might get an education by attending one of these ceremonies!
One of our priests recently celebrated the Latin Mass in a parish church in Belgium at
which the parish priest assisted. It was the first time in his 30 years as a parish priest that he

witnessed the Tridentine Mass. After the Mass, he said, "They have cheated us for 30 years!"
He was so moved that when he celebrated the New Mass later that morning he stopped
himself several times. All of a sudden, he departed the altar for the sacristy and returned
wearing a traditional chasuble, showing that he wanted to have something more for the good
Lord. At the end of this Mass, he confided to our priest, "I am the only priest in the whole
diocese who believes in the Real Presence."
I personally estimate that about half of the priests worldwide have lost faith in the Real
Presence. I think two-thirds of the priests no longer believe the Mass is really the renewal of
the Sacrifice of Our Lord on the cross. I know seminary rectors who teach the Mass is not the
Sacrifice. Two of these left and lost the Faith. It is not a question of abuses. It is the New
Mass itself which is to blame because it doesnt express clearly the idea of the Sacrifice and
the Real Presence. There are a lot of little things in the New Mass which erode the belief of
priests who end up thinking the way the New Mass makes them act. No longer must the priest
hold together the thumbs and forefingers which have touched the consecrated hosts. It is no
longer obligatory for the chalice or paten to be plated with gold nor to purify the sacred
vessels at the end of the Mass. Sometimes horrible things happen. I know of a priest who has
come to Tradition because of one of these happenings.
During the papal Mass in New Zealand, this priest was shocked when one of his
communicants took Holy Communion from him in his hand, broke the Host, and threw It to
the ground in front of him. The priest bent to gather the particles of the Host and discontinued
distributing Communion. He returned to the site of the ciboria and saw something there that
sickened him more. He saw priests dumping unconsumed consecrated hosts in trash bags. He
walked to his nearby convent, placed his ciborium in a tabernacle there, and left to join us.
Naive Catholics say these are isolated abuses, that Vatican II is not responsible. Look
around! I ask, "Where arent there abuses?" What is done to protect the faithful? to tell
them to be faithful to unfaithful bishops as Msgr. Perl does?!
The Faithful Are Abandoned
A poll of French Catholics who assist at Mass at least once a month was taken (Oct., 1998)
on different issues in the Church. The majority favor use of contraception by Catholics by
72%; of a married priesthood by 66%; that divorced people should be able to "remarry" in the
Church by 60%; 60% favor women-priests; 62% favor euthanasia. What are the causes of this
disaster? In answering, we will have to look at philosophy, theology, morality, and politics.
In Philosophy

In philosophy, the modern philosophers have given us the idea of evolution, that everything
must change. It is in the name of changes that Vatican II was convened. "Everything must
change because things must change!" Its not reasonable! Is the fact that what is done by foot,
or by bicycle, or train, or plane is not travel anymore? Has the heart of man changed? A lie
2000 years ago is still a lie today! What was a sin is still sin; what was Truth is still Truth.
These things have not changed! To argue that we have to change the Mass for the new
technological age is crazy. Truth cant change!
A famous French thinker, Maurice Blondel (1861-1949) [see "They Think Theyve Won!"
SiSiNoNo, No.4] is one of the grandfathers of Vatican II. He taught a new definition of truth.
Directly contrary to the Churchs perennial definition, he said truth is not the agreement of
our intellect and objective reality. Let me give an example of why this is wrong and why truth
is the conformity of our intellect with reality. If I hold a bird and tell you this is a bird, you
will test the truth of my statement by comparing what I have said, what is supposed to be in
my mind, and the objective reality. If these correspond, then my word is true and you must
submit your intelligence to the reality of the bird. If these do not correspond, then my word is
false. But modern thinkers say truth is the agreement between our intellect and life. Now,
how do we recognize life? The first question we ask when we find someone lying in the road
is, "Is he alive?" To see if he is, you will see if there is movement of his eyes, if his heart is
beating, etc. Life means movement. If you say that truth is the conformity of our intellect
with life, that is, of our intellect and movement, then truth must move! If truth must move,
then we must keep changing it. If it stands still, then its not truth. So, we have been ordered
to change to show that the Church has life!
Modern philosophies also deny that our intelligence can understand the essence of things
the deepest part of things which cant change. You may have a boy named Paul who will
change in height, weight, and age, but his essence as Paul will always be Paul. He will always
be a man, always possess a human nature, and this will not change. The modern philosophers
say you cant go that deep, that you are obliged to stay at the level of changing. This limits
discussion to only the changing part of things and our personal opinions about them which
are no more or less important than anyone elses opinions. This is a world of total
subjectivism, of opinions, which is clearly evident at the level of religions. All religions are
equally good! But the essence of God is His existence. There is still only one God and this
one God has to be worshipped as He commands. There can be no change here! But the
modernists say we can no longer say that Our Lord has to reign on this earth; there are
Buddhists, Muslims, this and that, and it is impossible to require them to worship a Jesus they
dont know. But, dont try to convert them because their opinion is as good or bad as yours!
The loss of the essential in the Catholic Church is to lose truth and conviction.
In Theology

Another disaster is perpetrated in theology by the refusal of bad theologians to distinguish

between nature and grace. This leads to a failure to distinguish between body and soul. To
refuse to distinguish between created nature and the grace of the Creator concludes to no
distinction between creatures and the Creator, between man and God! What does Pope John
Paul II himself say?
Every man and every people, by the fact that Our Lord died on the cross and by the action
of the Holy Ghost, every man is a child of God. He is a participant of divine life and is called
to eternal happiness [Tertio Millennio Adveniente].
Every man! Saint Paul says (Rom. 8:14) that those who are led by the Spirit of God, are the
sons of God. The Spirit of God must be in them. He says very clearly that the Holy Ghost is
not in everybody (Rom. 8:13). But the present pope maintains that the Holy Ghost is dwelling
mysteriously in everybody because of the failure to distinguish between nature and grace.
In Morality
At the level of morality we have seen adaptation to the world. In the name of changes, we
are told, "Look, the Church is so far behind the world. Lets catch up." To close in on the
world, you have to change so the broad way is proposed to us instead of the narrow stony
way which leads to heaven. This broad way of Liberalism is compromise with the world. This
Liberalism is all over the place in the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger himself says that the
problem in the Church in the 1960s was the conflict of assimilating the "best values of two
centuries of liberal culture," but now it has been done. That means that the Church has
assimilated liberal culture. What is this liberal culture? the French Revolution!
In Politics
We cant understand politics without admitting infiltration of the Catholic Church by Her
enemies. There is evidence discovered by the Church which was published under Pope Pius
IX of the plan by Freemasons to elect a pope who would evangelize their freemasonic ideals.
Its strategy emphasized the destruction of especially seminaries and of women. In an
interview three years ago, a Mason from Mexico boasted of four freemasonic lodges of the
Scottish Rite within the Vatican. In further explanations he claimed that Freemasons have the
power to reward cooperating priests with the episcopacy. A NATO report (1974) on the
activities of the Communist Secret Service in the Eastern Bloc nations within the hierarchy of
the Catholic Church estimated 3000 agents had successfully infiltrated the Catholic hierarchy.
In 1984, just before the reunification of Germany, the Secret Service of East Germany was
known to dramatically increase its number of agents with the aim of subverting Catholic and
Protestant churches.

Modernism Is Not so "Modern!"

There is also the infiltration by the Modernists into the Catholic Church. They hide in Her
and it is our task to unmask them. The Modernists are very closely linked to Gnosticism, a
strong tendency to which is visible in the Church today. There are subtle touches of it in
Vatican II. An insightful priest who died in 1890 correctly forecasted that the Catholic
Church would change its leadership through an ecumenical council and that a new liturgy
would be composed to harmonize with the modern world. He predicted that priests would
trash the cassock. He called them "progressives." Even the founders of the New Age
Movement wrote that the Catholic Church of the end of the 20th century would adopt the
principles of Freemasonry, but the Church would keep up a Catholic appearance so the
faithful would not become alarmed.
Such things are happening in front of us. Our problem is the enemy is dressed in the same
uniform as those they attack. How do you know that someone in the same uniform as you is
an enemy? You only know when he shoots you, and then, its too late! Its quite a mess. Its a
massive work of destruction at all levels. We cannot close our eyes and say, "Oh, its fine,
were surviving," or, "It must be nice because the pope said it."
Fear Not
So what is our solution? Remember, we are not allowed to look at the Church with human
reason alone. The Catholic Church is a supernatural society, not a natural society. The head
of the Church is Our Lord Himself and the Church is nothing else but Our Lord Jesus Christ
and the souls who make up His Mystical Body. The essential dimension of the Church is not
human, which will not pass, which is holy, which is one; and the Head of the Church is
almighty and eternal! His Wisdom is above all circumstance of times and events. The Church
herself has these attributes of stability.
Stay in the Boat
In the Creed, we profess the Church is one, that the Church is holy, and it is! We must
remember God is in control even though it can seem to us Hes lost it. Remember the apostles
in the little boat. They thought they were sinking. But Who was giving the wind its ferocity,
giving the waves their strength to crash against the boat? It was Jesus, the One Who was
sleeping there. When He said "Stop!" there was peace. Silence. When God wants this silence
for His Church, it will be done in an instant; if not now, its because He wants us of the
Church Militant to share His sufferings and pains. The Church will triumph, but we must pray
for that. We must stay with Our Lord and that means to stay in the same Faith.
Keeping Faith

Faith is the door to the Holy Trinity, to God. Someone who sins against the Faith commits
a mortal sin more grave than those against the sixth commandment. One who has lost the
Faith has no way to go to God! Whoever rejects one part of the Faith, rejects all of it.
The Catholic Faith is like a balloon filled with air. If you try to cut only a piece of the
balloon with your knife, the whole balloon explodes. Some say Catholics and Protestants
have the same Faith. No! The Protestants have exploded the balloon. Theres nothing left to
them but a little bit of rubber. Its no longer the Catholic Faith. We have the duty to know and
keep this Faith in its totality. Catechism is for all ages, not only little children. Refresh your
knowledge by reading the encyclicals of the good popes.
Asking for Grace
Pray for grace. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that God does something greater than the
creation of the universe when he pours grace into a soul at baptism. It means that the loss of
this treasure by one mortal sin is more serious than the destruction of the whole universe.
It is important we know the Catholic principles and establish Catholic standards in our
lives. We have to take the means God provides. If we stay close to God, we have nothing to
fear. God is above all the happenings of His creatures. He has won the victory and those who
stay with God will have the victory with Him. Our Lord Himself said to seek for the kingdom
of God and His justice, and all the rest will be given to you besides.
Rallying to the Rosary
The apparition of Our Lady of Fatima at the beginning of this century is significant. It is
not hard to guess that her Third Secret has something to do with the disaster in which we live.
Her remedies, however, are simple: pray the rosary daily and do penance. Console the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, our heavenly Mother. To her has been entrusted the peace of the
Having travelled the world over, I can testify that those who have kept the Faith, who have
kept the traditions of the Catholic Church, are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and pray
the rosary. This friend of the Pope who came to visit me said the same.
On the eve of the Year 2000, I would like to announce a new crusade of the rosary. In the
Churchs most desperate hours, the popes have always asked the faithful to pray the rosary.
This always has been the victory for the Church: the time of Saint Dominic, Lepanto,
Budapest, Vienna, etc. Every time we see the rosary and the visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Let us pray for the same victory. So, lets go! Thank you very much.