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The Society of St Pius X
We want the true Mass - do you?
New and Old Mass Compared
The Controversy over the publication of the New Mass
Open Letter to Confused Catholics
Who was Archbishop Lefebvre?
Was the Traditional Latin Mass ever legally suppressed?
Traditional Catholic Prayers
The Rosary in English and Latin
The Holy Infant of Prague
A Guided Tour of the Traditional Latin Mass
Profession Of Catholic Faith For Converts
Words of encouragement from St. Athanasius
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
SSPX Mass times and venues in the U.K.
Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Stations of the Cross
Reclaim your heritage
The Catechism of the Council of Trent
The Baltimore Catechism
Catechism of St Pius X
A Tribute to Archbishop Lefebvre
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Latin and English
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
How to contact a priest of the Society
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The definitive biography of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Church Conservation News
The Catholic Worker Movement: A Critical Analysis
Why Christian women should not wear trousers
Is Distributism Catholic?
Vaticangate: Justice denied to Archbishop Lefebvre
The New Laity and the Anti-clerical Factor
Excommunications withdrawn by the Vatican
Garcia Moreno Catholic Statesman and Martyr
Bishop Fellay on the Beatification of Pope John Paul II
A Fake War against Materialism
Traditional Catholic Hymns in Latin with English Translation
St Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on St Matthew's Gospel
Analysis of the Open Letter to Bishop Fellay
A Short Biography
| Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was an outstanding Catholic Bishop renowned world-wide as the standard bearer of Roman Catholic Tradition -- the only Bishop in the world to denounce publicly the radical Vatican II Reforms (until joined in November, 1983 by Bishop Antonio de Castro-Mayer of Brazil.) Distinguished by extraordinary zeal, organisational ability and an affable, courteous nature. Born of devout parents, one of eight children (five were priests and nuns).
A Brilliant Record
*40 years as a missionary and seminary professor.
*15 years Archbishop of Dakar and Apostolic Delegate to French-speaking Africa.
*6 years Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers (largest missionary congregation in the world), Bishop of Tulle, and Head of Rome's French Seminary.
*Helped form the 'Coetus Internationalis Patrum' at Vatican II (effort to uphold Sacred Tradition.)
*Founded Priestly Society of St. Pius X (preserving the Holy Priesthood and the Latin Tridentine Mass.)
*Ordained also traditional Benedictines, Dominicans, Capuchins, and the Fraternity of the Transfiguration.
*Travelled throughout the world to confer Confirmation in the traditional rite.
*Ordained 4 bishops in 1988 in order to ensure the continuation of the traditional Catholic Priesthood which was being undermined by the reforms.
Few Catholics today have heard of Archbishop Lefebvre, the Founder of the Society of St Pius X. This is hardly surprising, as Church authoritities who have been dedicated to eradicating those very traditions which had been universally honoured and defended throughout the Church, have taken the most drastic measures to stamp out his work and subject the Archbishop to serious misrepresentation and unjust penalties.
Marcel Lefebvre was born in Tourcoing, France, November 29, 1905 from a family which gave almost fifty of its members to the Church since 1738, amongst them a cardinal, a few bishops and many priests and religious. After the baptism of her newborn child, Mrs. Lefebvre embraced him and said: "This one will have a great role in Rome, close to the Holy Father." Of her eight children, two became missionary priests, three girls entered different religious congregations and the other three founded large Catholic families.
Marcel served 5:30 a.m. Mass every day and was an active member of the Saint Vincent Society, dedicated to the care of the sick. The family atmosphere and his good teachers at the Sacred Heart school prepared him favourably for the priestly vocation.
After his preparatory studies he entered the French Seminary in Rome, and received his doctorates in Philosophy (1925) and Theology (1929) from the Gregorian Pontifical University. Ordained Priest September 21, 1929, he was sent to assist the Parish Priest in the Marais-de-Lomme, an industrial suburb of Lille, France.
The letters of his brother Rene, already in Africa, were instrumental in his decision to enter the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers in 1931. After his first vows he started his great missionary adventure in the ship "Foucauld", destination Gabon, in October 1932.
Teacher of Dogma and Holy Scripture in the Seminary of Libreville, Rector from 1934, he managed to be at the same time teacher, bursar, printer, plumber, electrician, driver... maybe having already in mind his Society’s Priests! Thanks to the educational system he founded there, the Seminary produced from amongst his alumni three bishops and two chiefs of state.
His mother died in 1938, and his father in 1944, after one year of sufferings and privations in the nazi concentration camp of Sonnenburg. The Provincial of France called back Fr. Lefebvre to direct the Novitiate of his congregation in Mortain, and on the 18th of September, 1947, he was consecrated bishop in his hometown by Cardinal Lienart, Bishop Fauret — his former superior at Libreville— and Bishop Ancel. The official journal of the Vatican, The Osservatore Romano(July 1976) recalls that "in 1947, a young missionary bishop, Mgr. Lefebvre, gave a new life to the work of the Church with the opening of new centres of Catholicism... his creative work left in Africa a profound mark."
As first Archbishop of Dakar and Apostolic Delegate of Pope Pius XII for all French-speaking Africa, he created four Episcopal Conferences, twenty-one new dioceses and apostolic prefectures and opened Seminaries in his extended jurisdiction.
He developed the Catholic press in creating modern printing-presses, he organised the Catholic Action in its entirety, he opened hospitals, schools for twelve thousand children and arranged for European religious orders to settle in his territory. The first Carmel of Africa was founded at his request in Sebikotane, and the first Benedictine monastery of the Solesmes congregation was opened by him also in Gabon.
His annual visits to Pius XII made possible the decisive action of the Pope in favour of the Missions, and his information and advice were the basis for the magnificent encyclical "Fidei Donum", which reinvigorated the missionary work worldwide.
Dakar was at that time the biggest city of French Africa, with a population of half a million , of which 90% were Muslims and Animists. The new ideas brought by the soldiers returning from Indochina, the revolutionary mentality imported by students and teachers from France, as well as the hostile proselytism of Protestant sects did not make the task easy for the Archbishop. He tried to build a truly Catholic civilization by his own example, his personal contacts with the clergy and faithful and with his pastoral letters. The latter deserve a special mention; in his writings he treated subjects as religious ignorance, the Catholic family, social and economic problems, Communism, materialism, etc. After fifteen years at the head of the Archdiocese, he left his charge to one of his spiritual children, now Cardinal Thiandoum, in 1962.
John XXIII named him Assistant to the Papal Throne and Roman Count, appointing him to the diocese of Tulle, France. For six months he had the opportunity of witnessing the state of the Church in one of the most pagan regions of France. Practical and objective as usual, when other prelates were having presumptuous dreams about the priests of the 21st century, he took special care of this own clergy, suggesting to his priests to live together in small rural communities to foster their spiritual life. When a young priest asked to be moved to a big city in order to"have something to do" the new bishop replied: "Say your Mass well and you have already fulfilled the essential of your daily ministry".
In July, 1962, the General Chapter of the Holy Ghost Fathers, the most important missionary Congregation in the Church, elected him as General Superior for twelve years. At the same time the Pope nominated him member of the Preparatory Commission of the Second Vatican Council, to collaborate in the documents which were to be discussed by the conciliar Fathers.
During a meeting of the Central Commission the Archbishop publicly complained about the presence in the sub-commissions of non-Catholics and of doubtful individuals as Hans Kung, Ratzinger (in black suit and tie), Rahner, Congar, Schillebeeckx, and company. Cardinal Ottaviani told him that the Pope himself required their presence! Schillebeeckx wrote at that time: "We now express ourselves in a diplomatic manner, but after the Council we shall take from the texts the conclusions which they implied." And indeed they did it, as we know too well!
With Bishops Morcillo (Madrid), Castro Mayer (Campos), de Proenca-Sigaud (Diamantina) and 250 more prelates, Archbishop Lefebvre created a "traditionalist commando" within the Council, the "Coetus Internationalis Patrum", composed by traditional Fathers who tried to stop the over-powerful influence of the rich and popular Modernist wing directed by Cardinal Bea.
Cardinal Bea, former confessor of Pope Pius XII, was nevertheless a decisive instrument of the Judeo-Masonic sect to obtain from the Council the drawing up of "Dignitatis Humanae" and "Nostra Aetate."
After the election of Paul VI, who clearly supported the liberal wing, it was obvious that the already ambiguous documents were going to be interpreted from the Modernist point of view. Reducing systematically the influence of the traditionalists and opposing any declaration which could offend non-Catholics (as the document against Communism), Paul VI blessed the adulterous union between the liberal conception of man and society with the Catholic doctrine. And, as you can imagine, an implacable persecution started against the members of the traditional "Coetus." Cardinal Lefebvre, cousin of the Archbishop and one of the most conspicuous liberals in France, declared: "We shall never forgive Mgr. Lefebvre."
The Holy Ghost Fathers called an extraordinary General Chapter in 1968 to revise the Constitutions in the spirit of the Council. When Archbishop Lefebvre protested before the Congregation of Religious at the sight of the internal revolution in the Chapter, he was cordially invited to take a long vacation, as the General of the Redemptorists did in the same situation. The Archbishop presented his resignation, which was accepted two days later, and established his residence in Rome, as chaplain to a convent.
In 1964 some young men wishing to fulfil their priestly vocation went to Archbishop Lefebvre for advice, and he directed them to the French Seminary in Rome, under the care of the Holy Ghost Fathers. In 1966 there were twenty-one of them, and the Archbishop asked them to be an example for the others, hoping that the new spirit would not harm the institution. But when the time of receiving the tonsure arrived, it was refused to the "integrists," and some of them tried their fortune in other communities, only to find a similar treatment. In 1968 there were only two seminarians in cassocks in the whole French Seminary. The communist flag was displayed by seminarians in May, to show their support of the revolutionary students in France. The French Seminary was won over by the post-conciliar spirit as was the case with all the other Roman institutions. It was time for our seminarians to find a new home.
After various attempts in Italy and France, the Archbishop was encouraged by Fr. Philippe O.P. and the Abbot of Hauterive to open a small Seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland. Bishop Carriere gave his permission and support on June 6, 1969, and one month later the Archbishop rented twelve rooms at the Don Bosco House. The old farm of the canons of St. Bernard in Econe was bought by a group of Swiss laymen to prevent the profanation of the house and its venerable chapel of Our Lady of the Prairies. In September 1970 the first year started at Econe with the approval of Bishop Adam, and the first November Bishop Charriere canonically erected the "Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X" and approved its Constitutions.
Archbishop Lefebvre gathered together a group of twelve theologians, amongst them Fr. Des Lauriers and Fr. Arriaga, who wrote under his direction the famous "Critical Examination of the N.O.M." The Archbishop obtained a preface by Cardinal Ottaviani, and Mrs. Campo and Princess Pallavicini the signature of Cardinal Bacci. The two cardinals presented the document to Paul VI.
Since no response came from the Vatican, the Archbishop announced to his seminarians, June 10, 1971, the reasons why he refused to accept this new liturgy. Some months before, on February 18, Cardinal Wright from the Congregation of the Clergy issued the "decretum laudis" praising highly the Society, its Constitutions, and its work in different dioceses.
The conspiracy of the envious French Bishops was growing fast. In 1972, the Episcopal Conference in Lourdes called Econe a "savage Seminary," when they knew very well that it was not under their jurisdiction. Society’s Seminaries were opened at Armada (USA, 1973) and Albano (Rome, 1974). In 1974 Econe had more than one hundred students. Traditional priests after the Council? That should be stopped at any price!
Rome sent two Apostolic Visitors November 11, 1974. They said that "Econe is good 99%." Not bad, said the Archbishop, this makes 1% for the Mass! It was necessary to make a public statement in order to clarify the situation of the Society and on December 21, 1974 the Archbishop published in "Itineraires," a French magazine, his declaration in which he proclaims his adhesion to the eternal Rome and his refusal of the neo-modernist and neo-protestant Rome of Vatican II. "The only attitude of fidelity to the Church and to the Catholic doctrine is the categorical refusal of accepting the reformation." Clear, wasn’t it?
Rome answered with an invitation to dialogue. Liberal dialogue, which means in one unique direction, usually the wrong one. Against the provision of the Canon Law, the Society was invalidly suppressed the sixth of May, 1975. French Cardinal Villot forced Cardinal Staffa to refuse the canonical recourse to the Supreme Apostolic Signature--"because of the Tribunal being incompetent." Indeed!--and the Secretary of State wrote to all the Bishops of the world asking them to refuse incardination to the members of the Society. Paul VI, in the Consistory of May 1976 denounced the Archbishop as "disobedient to the renewed liturgy."
Cardinal Benelli asked the Archbishop to celebrate at least once according to the new missal, promising a quick arrangement. He refused, of course, and on the 23rd of July, 1976 a "suspensio a divinis" forbade him to celebrate... the new mass, as the Archbishop said with humor. You remember the abominable way in which the media treated the issue. He was called --already!-- "excommunicated", "arch-excommunicated", "break-away", "schismatic" and so on.
Paul VI received him in Castelgandolfo, September 11, 1976, accusing him to oblige the seminarians to take an oath against the Pope. This was the "accurate" information which Cardinal Villot presented. John-Paul II received the Archbishop in Rome, the sixteenth of November, 1978. After a long conversation the Pope seemed willing enough to make the liturgy a matter of option, when Cardinal Seper immediately exclaimed: "Holy Father, they are making of the Old Mass a banner!" a remark which made a considerable and negative impression on the Pope.
The expansion of the Society continued in every continent. International Seminaries were opened in Germany, Argentina and Australia, and the good Archbishop traveled incessantly to give the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation, and to comfort the priests and faithful who wanted to keep their Faith before the furious attacks of the Modernist sect. His priestly jubilee was celebrated in Paris, September 23, 1979, by a crowd of twenty-thousand grateful Catholics. In 1982 the General Chapter elected Rev. Franz Schmidberger as new Superior General.
Saint Mary’s College, a venerable Jesuit institution which was abandoned to the Pottawatomi Indians, was acquired by the Archbishop in 1978 to provide a sound Catholic education for children of American Traditional Catholics.
Meanwhile the conversations with the Vatican continued. Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Castro Mayer wrote an open letter to the Pope in November 1983 denouncing his support of collegiality, the revolutionary "human rights," the protestant mass and the free diffusion of heresies within the Church. The Pope seemed to sponsor this attitude with his scandalous visits to a Protestant temple and the Synagogue in Rome, his idolatrous acts in Togo and India, crowning the job with the ecumenical meeting of all religions at Assisi.
During the priestly ordinations at Econe, June 29, 1987, Archbishop Lefebvre announced his decision of consecrating bishops for the Society, and the Vatican sent immediately Cardinal Gagnon to visit our houses, priests and faithful. He has recently declared that he never had any true hope of "reconciliation," despite his written and spoken praises of the Society’s work. An obscure Protocol was signed the fifth of May, 1988, but the day after, the Archbishop discovered that there were no securities that his conditions will be promptly fulfilled, and he decided to consecrate four auxiliary bishops against the explicit liberal will of the Pope. It was a "survival operation" of Tradition, absolutely justified by the unjust persecution. The prudence and wisdom of this measure is obvious after the death of the Archbishop. This action made of him, Bishop Castro Mayer, and the four young prelates, the first "excommunicated" of the post-conciliar era. The reasons for which the Church rewarded him greatly until the death of Pius XII were now the cause of his condemnation by the new church.
The good Lord took the Archbishop when his holy life was fully accomplished, March 25, 1991, Monday of the Holy Week, in the month of Saint Joseph. Let us pray for the eternal rest of our most beloved Father, and may his intercession help us restore all things in Christ.
Archbishop Lefebvre on the New Mass and the Pope
[In the following statement dated 8 November 1979, Archbishop Lefebvre clarified his position and that of the Society of St. Pius X on the subject of the New Mass and the Pope.
In the case of the New Mass, it is evident that while still upholding its intrinsic validity, the Archbishop has adopted a more negative stance towards assisting at it than he did in earlier years. This is not surprising, because, as the years have passed, the manner in which the New Mass is celebrated has become consistently more unacceptable in many parishes. Matters had reached the stage in 1980 that Pope John Paul II needed to offer an apology to the faithful for the scandal and disturbance caused to them by the way the New Mass was so frequently celebrated. In the same year he felt it necessary to order the publication of an Instruction, Inaestimabile Donum, intended to curtail some of the more flagrant abuses. This Instruction has been largely ignored.]
The New Mass and the Pope
How often during these last ten years have I not had occasion to respond to questions concerning the weighty problems of the New Mass and the Pope. In answering them I have ever been careful to breathe with the spirit of the Church, conforming myself to her Faith as expressed in her theological principles, and to her pastoral prudence as expressed in moral theology and in the long experiences of her history.
I think I can say that my own views have not changed over the years and that they are, happily, those of the great majority of priests and faithful attached to the indefectible Tradition of the Church.
It should be clear that the few lines which follow are not an exhaustive study of these problems, The purpose, rather is to clarify our conclusions to such an extent that no one may be mistaken regarding the official position of the Society of St, Pius X.
It must be understood immediately that we do not hold to the absurd idea that if the New Mass is valid, we are then free to assist at it. The Church has always forbidden the faithful to assist at the Masses of heretics and schismatics, even when they are valid. It is clear that no one can assist at sacrilegious Masses or at Masses which endanger our faith.
Now, it is easy to show that the New Mass, as it was formulated by the officially authorised Conciliar Liturgical Commission considered together with the accompanying explanation of Mgr. Bugnini, manifests an inexplicable rapprochement with the theology and liturgy of the Protestants. The following fundamental dogmas of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are not clearly represented and are even contradicted:
- the priest is the essential minister of the Rite;
- in the Mass there is a true sacrifice, a sacrificial action;
- the Victim or Host is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, present under the species of bread and wine, with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity;
- this Sacrifice is a propitiatory one;
- the Sacrifice and the Sacrament are effected by the words of the Consecration alone, and not also by those which either precede or follow them.
It is sufficient to enumerate a few of the novelties in the New Mass to be convinced of the rapprochement with the Protestants;
- the altar replaced by a table without an altar stone;
- Mass celebrated facing the people, concelebrated, in a loud voice, and in the vernacular;
- the Mass divided into two distinct parts: Liturgy of the Word, and Liturgy of the Eucharist;
- the cheapening of the sacred vessels, the use of leavened bread, distribution of Holy Communion in the hand, and by the laity, and even by women;
- the Blessed Sacrament hidden in corners;
- the Epistle read by women;
- Holy Communion brought to the sick by laity.
All these innovations are authorised. One can fairly say without exaggeration that most of these Masses are sacrilegious acts which pervert the Faith by diminishing it. The de-sacralisation is such that these Masses risk the loss of their supernatural character, their mysterium fidei; they would then be no more than acts of natural religion. These New Masses are not only incapable of fulfilling our Sunday obligation, but are such that we must apply to them the canonical rules which the Church customarily applies to communicatio in sacris with Orthodox Churches and Protestant sects.
Must one conclude further that all these Masses are invalid? As long as the essential conditions for validity are present (matter, form, intention, and a validly ordained priest), I do not see how one can affirm this.
The prayers at the Offertory, the Canon, and the Priest’s Communion which surround the words of Consecration are necessary, not to the validity of the Sacrifice and the Sacrament, but rather to their integrity. When the imprisoned Cardinal Mindszenty, desiring to nourish himself with the Body and Blood of Our Lord, and to escape the gaze of his captors, pronounced solely the words of Consecration over a little bread and wine, he most certainly accomplished the Sacrifice and the Sacrament.
It is clear, however, that fewer and fewer Masses are valid these days, as the faith of priests is destroyed and they possess no longer the intention to do what the Church does – an intention which the Church cannot change. The current formation of those who are called seminarians today does not prepare them to celebrate Mass validly. The propitiatory Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer considered the essential work of the priest. Nothing is sadder or more disappointing than to read the sermons or teachings of the Conciliar bishops on the subject of vocations, or on the occasion of a priestly ordination. They no longer know what a priest is.
Nevertheless, in order to judge the subjective fault of those who celebrate the New Mass as of those who attend it, we must apply the roles of the discernment of spirits given us in moral and pastoral theology. We (the priests of the Society) must always act as doctors of the soul and not as judge and hangmen. Those who are tempted by this latter course are animated by a bitter spirit and not true zeal for souls. I hope that our young priests will be inspired by the words of St. Pius X in his first encyclical, and by the numerous texts on this subject to be found in such works as The Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Chautard, Christian Perfection and Contemplation by Garrigou-Lagrange, and Christ the Ideal of the Monk by Dom Marmion.
Let us now pass to a second but no less important subject: does the Church have a true Pope or an impostor on the Throne of St. Peter? Happy are those who have lived and died without having to pose such a question! One must indeed recognise that the pontificate of Paul VI posed, and continues to pose, a serious problem of conscience for the faithful. Without reference to his culpability for the terrible demolition of the Church which took place under his pontificate, one cannot but realize that he hastened the causes of that decline in every domain. One can fairly ask oneself how it was possible that a successor of Peter can, in so little time, have caused more damage to the Church than the French Revolution.
Some precise facts, such as the signatures which he gave to Article VII in the Instruction concerning the New Mass, and to the Declaration on Religious Liberty, are indeed scandalous and have led certain traditionalists to affirm that Paul VI was heretical and thus no longer Pope. They argue further that, chosen by a heretical Pope, the great majority of the cardinals are not cardinals at all and thus lacked the authority to elect another Pope. Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II were thus, they say, illegitimately elected. They continue that it is inadmissible to pray for a pope who is not Pope or to have any "conversations" (like mine of November 1978) with one who has no right to the Chair of Peter.
As with the question of the invalidity of the Novus Ordo, those who affirm that there is no Pope over-simplify the problem. The reality is more complex. If one begins to study the question of whether or not a Pope can be heretical, one quickly discovers that the problem is not as simple as one might have thought. The very objective study of Xaverio de Silverira on this subject demonstrates that a good number of theologians teach that the Pope can be heretical as a private doctor or theologian but not as a teacher of the Universal Church. One must then examine in what measure Pope Paul VI willed to engage in infallibility in the diverse cases where he signed texts close to heresy if not formally heretical.
But we can say that in the two cases cited above, as in many another, Paul VI acted much more the Liberal than as a man attached to heresy. For when one informed him of the danger that he ran in approving certain conciliar texts, he would proceed to render the text contradictory by adding a formula contrary in meaning to affirmations already in the text, or by drafting an equivocal formula. Now, equivocation is the very mark of the Liberal, who is inconsistent by nature.
The Liberalism of Paul VI, recognised by his friend, Cardinal Daniélou, is thus sufficient to explain the disasters of his pontificate. Pope Pius IX, in particular, spoke often of the Liberal Catholic, whom he considered a destroyer of the Church. The Liberal Catholic is a two-sided being, living in a world of continual self-contradiction. While he would like to remain Catholic, he is possessed by a thirst to appease the world. He affirms his faith weakly, fearing to appear too dogmatic, and as a result, his actions are similar to those of the enemies of the Catholic Faith.
Can a Pope be Liberal and remain Pope? The Church has always severely reprimanded Liberal Catholics, but she has not always excommunicated them. Here, too, we must continue in the spirit of the Church. We must refuse Liberalism from whatever source it comes because the Church has always condemned it. She has done so because it is contrary, in the social realm especially, to the Kingship of Our Lord.
Does not the exclusion of the cardinals of over eighty years of ages, and the secret meetings which preceded and prepared the last two Conclaves, render them invalid? Invalid: no, that is saying too much. Doubtful at the time: perhaps. But in any case, the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the election by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate it. That is the teaching of the theologians.
The visibility of the Church is too necessary to its existence for it to be possible that God would allow that visibility to disappear for decades. The reasoning of those who deny that we have a Pope puts the Church in an inextricable situation. Who will tell us who the future Pope is to be? How, as there are no Cardinals, is he to be chosen? This spirit is a schismatical one for at least the majority of those who attach themselves to certainly schismatical sects like Palmar de Troya, the Eglise Latine de Toulouse, and others.
Our Fraternity absolutely refuses to enter into such reasonings.
We wish to remain attached to Rome and to the Successor of Peter, while refusing his Liberalism through fidelity to his predecessors. We are not afraid to speak to him, respectfully but firmly, as did St. Paul with St. Peter.
And so, far from refusing to pray for the Pope, we redouble our prayers and supplications that the Holy Ghost will grant him light and strength in his affirmations and defence of the Faith.
Thus, I have never refused to go to Rome at his request or that of his representatives. The Truth must be affirmed at Rome above all other places. It is of God, and He will assure its ultimate triumph.
Consequently, the Society of St. Pius X, its priests, brothers, sisters, and oblates, cannot tolerate among its members those who refuse to pray for the Pope or affirm that the Novus Ordo Missae is per se invalid. Certainly, we suffer from this continual incoherence which consists in praising all the Liberal orientations of Vatican II and at the same time straining to mitigate its effects. But all of this must incite us to prayer and to the firm maintenance of Tradition rather than to the affirmation that the Pope is not the Pope.
In conclusion, we must have that missionary spirit which is the true spirit of the Church. We must do everything to bring about the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the words of our Holy Patron, St. Pius X: Instaurare omnia in Christo. We must restore all things in Christ, and we must submit to all, as did Our Lord in His Passion for the salvation of souls and the triumph of Truth. "In hoc natus sum," said Our Lord to Pilate, "ut testimonium perhibeam veritati."
“I was born to give witness to the Truth."
An Interview with Archbishop Lefebvre
You have debated and taken part in the deliberations of the second council of the Vatican, have you not?
Did you not sign and agree to the resolutions of this council?
No. First of all, I have not signed all the documents of Vatican II because of the last two acts. The first, concerned with "Religion and Freedom," I have not signed. The other one, that of “The Church in the Modern World”, I also have not signed. This latter is in my opinion the most oriented toward modernism and liberalism.
Are you on record for not only not signing the documents but also on record to publicly oppose them?
Yes. In a book, which I have published in France, I accuse the council of error on these resolutions, and I have given all the documents by which I attack the position of the council - principally, the two resolutions concerning the issues of religion and freedom and "The Church in the Modern World.”
Why were you against these decrees?
Because these two resolutions are inspired by liberal ideology which former popes described to us-that is to say, a religious license as understood and promoted by the Freemasons, the humanists, the modernists and the liberals.
Why do you object to them?
This ideology says that all the cultures are equal; all the religions are equal, that there is not a one and only true faith. All this leads to the abuse and perversion of freedom of thought. All these perversions of freedom, which were condemned throughout the centuries by all the popes, have now been accepted by the council of Vatican II.
Who placed these particular resolutions on the agenda?
I believe there were a number of cardinals assisted by theological experts who were in agreement with liberal ideas.
Who, for example?
Cardinal (Augustine) Bea (a German Jesuit), Cardinal (Leo) Suenens (from Belgium), Cardinal (Joseph) Frings (from Germany), Cardinal (Franz) Koenig (from Austria). These personalities had already gathered and discussed these resolutions before the council and it was their precise aim to make a compromise with the secular world, to introduce Illuminist and modernist ideas in the church doctrines.
Were there any American cardinals supporting these ideas and resolutions?
I do not recall their names at present, but there were some. However, a leading force in favour of these resolutions was Father Murray.
Are you referring to Father John Courtney Murray (an American Jesuit)?
What part has he played?
He has played a very active part during all the deliberations and drafting of these documents.
Did you let the pope (Paul VI) know of your concern and disquiet regarding these resolutions?
I have talked to the pope. I have talked to the council. I have made three public interventions, two of which I have filed with the secretariat. Therefore, there were five interventions against these resolutions of Vatican II.
In fact, the opposition led against these resolutions was such that the pope attempted to establish a commission with the aim of reconciling the opposing parties within the council. There were to be three members, of which I was one.
When the liberal cardinals learned that my name was on this commission, they went to see the holy father (the pope) and told him bluntly that they would not accept this commission and that they would not accept my presence on this com- mission. The pressure on the pope was such that he gave up the idea.
I have done everything I could to stop these resolutions which I judge contrary and destructive to the Catholic faith. The council was convened legitimately, but it was for the purpose of putting all these ideas through.
Were there other cardinals supporting you?
Yes. There was Cardinal (Ernesto) Ruffini (of Palermo), Cardinal (Giuseppe) Siri (of Genoa) and Cardinal (Antonio) Caggiano (of Buenos Aires).
Were there any bishops supporting you?
Yes. Many bishops supported my stand.
How many bishops?
There were in excess of 250 bishops. They had even formed themselves into a group for the purpose of defending the true Catholic faith.
What happened to all of these supporters?
Some are dead; some are dispersed throughout the world; many still support me in their hearts but are frightened to lose the position, which they feel may be useful at a later time.
Is anybody supporting you today (1978)?
Yes. For instance, Bishop Pintinello from Italy; Bishop Castro de Mayer from Brazil. Many other bishops and cardinals often contact me to express their support but wish at this date to remain anonymous.
What about those bishops who are not liberals but still oppose and criticise you?
Their opposition is based on an inaccurate understanding of obedience to the pope. It is, perhaps, a well-meant obedience, which could be traced to the ultramontane obedience of the last century, which in those days was good because the popes were good. However, today, it is a blind obedience, which has little to do with a practice and acceptance of true Catholic faith.
At this stage it is relevant to remind Catholics all over the world that obedience to the pope is not a primary virtue.
The hierarchy of virtues starts with the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity followed by the four cardinal virtues of justice, temperance, prudence and fortitude. Obedience is a derivative of the cardinal virtue of justice. Therefore it is far from ranking first in the hierarchy of virtues.
Certain bishops do not wish to give the slightest impression that they are opposed to the Holy Father. I understand how they feel. It is evidently very unpleasant, if not very painful.
I certainly do not like to be in opposition to the Holy Father, but I have no choice considering what is coming to us from Rome at present, which is in opposition to the Catholic doctrine and is unacceptable to Catholics.
Do you suggest that the holy father accepts these particular ideas?
Yes. He does. But it is not only the Holy Father. It is a whole trend. I have mentioned to you some of the cardinals involved in these ideas. More than a century ago, secret societies, Illuminati, humanist, modernist and others, of which we have now all the texts and proofs, were preparing for a Vatican council in which they would infiltrate their own ideas for a humanist church.
Do you suggest that some cardinals could have been members of such secret societies?
This is not a very important matter at this stage whether they are or not. What is very important and grave is that they, for all intents and purposes, act just as if they were agents or servants of humanist secret societies.
Do you suggest that these cardinals could have taken up such ideas deliberately or were they given the wrong information or were they duped or a combination of all?
I think that humanist and liberal ideas spread throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. These secular ideas were spread everywhere, in government and churches alike.
These ideas have penetrated into the seminaries and throughout the church. And today the church wakes up finding itself in a liberal straitjacket.
This is why one meets liberal influence that has penetrated all strata of secular life during the last two centuries, right inside the church. Vatican Council II was engineered by liberals; it was a liberal council; the pope is a liberal and those who surround him are liberals.
Are you suggesting that the pope is a liberal even if he has never declared himself to be a liberal?
The pope has never denied that he was (a liberal).
When did the pope indicate that he was a liberal?
The pope stated on many occasions that he was in favor of modernist ideas, in favor of a compromise with the world. In his own words, it was necessary.’to throw a bridge between the church and the secular world.'
The pope said that it was necessary to accept humanist ideas, that is was necessary to discuss such ideas; that it was necessary to have dialogues. At this stage, it is important to state that dialogs are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Dialogues presuppose the coming together of two equal and opposing sides; therefore, in no way could (dialogue) have anything to do with the Catholic faith.
We believe and accept our faith as the only true faith in the world. All this confusion ends up in compromises, which destroy the church's doctrines, for the misfortune of mankind and the church alike.
You have stated that you know the reason for the decline in church attendance and lack of interest in the church today, which you reportedly attributed to the resolutions of Vatican II. Is that correct?
I would not say that Vatican II would have prevented what is happening in the church today. Modernist ideas have penetrated everywhere for a long time and that has not been good for the church. But the fact that some members of the clergy have professed such ideas, that is to say the ideas of perverted freedom, in that case-license.
The idea that all truths are equal, all religions are the same, consequently, all the moralities are the same, that everybody's conscience is equal, that everybody can judge theologically what he can do - these are really humanist ideas – (the idea) of total license with no discipline of thought whatever which leads to the position that anybody can do whatever he likes. All of this is absolutely contrary to our Catholic faith.
You have said that most of these theological counsellors and experts only pretend that they are representing the majority of the people, that in fact the people are really not represented by these liberal theologians. Could you explain?
By 'majority of the people,' I mean all the people who honestly work for a living. I mean the people on the land, people of common sense in contact with the real world, the lasting world. These people are the majority of the people, who prefer traditions and order to chaos.
There is a movement of all these people throughout the world, who are slowly coalescing in total opposition to all the changes that were made in their name, of their religion.
These people of good will and good sense have been so traumatised by these dramatic changes that they are now reluctant to attend church. When they go into a modernist church, they do not meet what is sacred-the mystical character of the church, all that which is really divine.
What leads to God is divine and they no longer meet God in these churches. Why should they come to a place where God is absent?
People perceive this very well and the liberal cardinals and their advisers have seriously underestimated the loyalty of the majority to their true faith. How (else) can you explain that as soon as we open a traditional chapel or church, every-body rushes in from everywhere? We have standing room only. The Masses go on all day to accommodate the faithful.
Why? Because they find once again what they need: the sacred, the mystical, respect for the sacred.
For instance, you would see at the airport different people coming to the priests who were there to meet me, shaking their hands - total strangers. Why? Because where people find a priest, a real priest, a priest that behaves like a priest, who dresses like a priest, they are attracted to him immediately and follow him.
This happens here in the United States, it happens in Europe and everywhere in the world. People in the street coming to greet a priest; they come to congratulate him out of the blue and tell him how glad they are to see a real priest, to tell him how glad they are that there are still some priests.
Do you suggest that clothes and habit make a difference in the quality of the priest?
Habits and clothing are, of course, only a symbol, but it is to what this symbol represents that people are attracted, not, of course, the symbol itself.
Why do you appear to attach such importance to the rituals of the Tridentine Mass?1
We certainly do not insist on rituals just for the sake of rituals but merely as symbol of our faith. In that context, we do believe they are important. However, it is the substance and not the rituals of the Tridentine Mass that has been removed.
Could you be more specific?
The new Offertory prayers do not express the Catholic notion of the sacrifice. They simply express the concept of a mere partaking of bread and wine. For instance, this Tridentine Mass addressed to God the prayer: "Accept O Holy Father, heavenly and eternal God, this immaculate victim which your unworthy servant offers to you, my living and true God to atone for my numberless sins, offences and negligences." The New Mass says: 'We offer this bread as the bread of life.' There is no mention of sacrifice or victim. This text is vague and imprecise, lends itself to ambiguity and was meant to be acceptable to Protestants. It is, however, unacceptable to the true Catholic faith and doctrine. The substance has been changed in favour of accommodation and compromise.
Why do you appear to attach such importance to the Latin Mass rather than the vernacular Mass approved by Vatican Council II?
First the question of the Latin Mass is a secondary question under certain circumstances. But under another aspect it is a very important question. It is important because it is a way to fix the word of our faith, the Catholic dogma and doctrines. It is a way of not changing our faith because in translations affecting these Latin words, one does not render exactly the truth of our faith as it is expressed and embodied in Latin.
It is indeed very dangerous because little by little one can lose faith itself. These translations do not reflect the exact words of the Consecration. These words are changed in the vernacular.
Could you give me an example?
Yes. For instance, in the vernacular, it is said that "the Precious Blood is for all." When in the Latin text (even the latest, revised Latin text), the text says, "the Precious Blood is for many" and not for all. All is certainly different from many. This is only a minor example that illustrates the inaccuracies of current translations.
Could you quote a translation, which would actually contradict Catholic dogma?
Yes. For example, in the Latin text, the Virgin Mary is referred to as “Semper Virgo," "always virgin.” In all the modern translations, the word "always" has been deleted. This is very serious because there is a great difference between "virgin" and "always virgin." It is most dangerous to tamper with translations of this kind.
Latin is also important to keep the unity of the Church because when one travels - and people travel more and more in foreign countries these days - it is important for them to find the same echoes that they have heard from a priest at home, whether in the United States, South America, Europe or any other part of the world. They are at home in any church. It is their Catholic Mass, which is being celebrated. They have always heard the Latin words since childhood, their parents before them, and their grandparents before them. It is an identifying mark of their faith.
Now, when they go into a foreign church, they don't understand a word. Foreigners who come here don't understand a word. What is the good of going to a Mass in English, Italian or Spanish when no one can understand a word?
But wouldn't most of these people understand Latin even less? What is the difference?
The difference is that the Latin of the Catholic Mass has always been taught through religious instruction since childhood. There have been numerous books on the matter. It has been taught throughout the, ages - it is not that difficult to remember.
Latin is an exact expression, which has been familiar to generations of Catholics. Whenever Latin is found in another Church, it immediately creates the proper atmosphere for the worship of God. It is the distinctive tongue of the Catholic faith, which unites all the Catholics throughout the world regardless of their national tongue.
They are not disoriented or baffled. They say: This is my Mass, it is the Mass of my parents, it is the Mass to follow, it is the Mass of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the eternal and unchanging Mass. Therefore from the point of view of unity, it is a very important symbolic link; it is a mark of identity for all Catholics.
But it is far more serious than simply a change of tongue. Under the spirit of Ecumenism, it is an attempt to create a rapprochement with the Protestants.
What proof do you have of this?
It is quite evident because there were five Protestants who assisted in the reform of our Liturgy. The archbishop of Cincinnati, who was present during these deliberations, said that not only these five Protestants were present but also they took a very active part in the debates and participated directly in the reform of our Liturgy.
Who were these Protestants?
They were Protestant ministers representing different Protestant denominations who were called by Rome to participate in the reform of our Liturgy which shows clearly that there was a purpose to all this. They were Dr. George, Canon Jasper, Dr. Sheperd, Dr. Smith, Dr. Koneth and Dr. Thurian. Msgr. Bugnini did not hide this purpose. He spelled it out very clearly. He said, “We are going to make an Ecumenical Mass as we have made an Ecumenical Bible."
All this is very dangerous because it is our faith that is attacked. When a Protestant celebrates the same Mass as we do, he interprets the text in a different way because his faith is different. Therefore, it is an ambiguous Mass. It is an equivocal Mass. It is no longer a Catholic Mass.
What Ecumenical Bible are you referring to?
There is an Ecumenical Bible made two or three years ago, which was recognised by many bishops. I do not know whether the Vatican publicly endorsed it, but it certainly did not suppress it because it is used in many dioceses. For instance, two weeks ago, the Bishop of Fribourg in Switzerland had Protestant pastors explaining this Ecumenical Bible to all the children of Catholic schools. These lessons were the same for Catholics and Protestants. And what has this Ecumenical Bible to do with the Word of God?
Since the Word of God cannot be changed, all this leads to more and more confusion. When I think that the archbishop of Houston, Texas will not allow Catholic children to be confirmed unless they go with their parents to follow a 15-day instruction course from the local rabbi and the local Protestant minister.
If the parents refuse to send their children to such instructions, they (the children) cannot get confirmed. They have to produce a signed certificate from the rabbi and the Protestant minister that both the parents and the children have duly attended the instruction and only then can they (the children) be confirmed by the bishop.
These are the absurdities with which we end up when we follow the liberal road. Not only this, but now we are even reaching the Buddhists and the Moslems. Many bishops were embarrassed when the representative of the pope was received in a shameful manner by the Moslems recently.
I do not recall all the specific details, but this incident happened in Tripoli, Libya, where the representative of the pope wanted to pray with the Moslems. These Moslems refused and went about their separate ways and prayed in their fashion, leaving the representative high and dry, not knowing what to do. This illustrates the naiveté of these liberal Catholics who feel that it is enough to talk with these Moslems and for them to accept immediately a compromise of their own religion.
The mere fact of wanting to have a close relationship with the Moslems for that purpose only attracts the contempt of the Moslems toward us. It is a well-known fact that Moslems will never change anything of their religion; it is absolutely out of the question.
If the Catholics come to equate our religion with theirs, it only leads to confusion and contempt, which they take as an attempt to discredit their religion and not caring about our religion. They are far more respectful of anyone who says that, “I am a Catholic; I cannot pray with you because we do not have the same convictions.” This person is more respected by the Moslems than the one who says that all the religions are the same; that we all believe the same things; we all have the same faith. They feel this person is insulting them.
But doesn't the Koran display moving verses of praise toward Mary and Jesus?
Islam accepts Jesus as a prophet and has great respect for Mary, and this certainly places Islam nearer to our religion than say, for instance, Judaism, which is far more distant from us. Islam was born in the 7th century and it has benefited to some degree from the Christian teachings of those days.
Judaism, on the other hand, is the heir to the system, which crucified our Lord. And the members of this religion, who have not converted to Christ, are those who are radically opposed to our Lord Jesus Christ. For them, there is no question whatever of recognising our Lord.
They are in opposition to the very foundation and existence of the Catholic faith on this subject. However, we cannot both be right. Either Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Lord and Saviour or He is not. This is one case where there cannot be the slightest compromise without destroying the very foundation of Catholic faith. This does not only apply to religions, which are directly opposed to the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God but also to religions, which, without opposing Him, do not recognise Him, as such.
Therefore you are very sure and dogmatic on this point?
Completely dogmatic. For example, the Moslems have a very different way to conceive God than we have. Their conception of God is very materialistic. It is not possible to say that their God is the same as our God.
But isn't God the same God for all the people of the world?
Yes. I believe that God is the same God for the whole universe according to the faith of the Catholic Church. But the conception of God differs greatly from religion to religion. Our Catholic faith is the one and only true faith. If one does not believe in it absolutely, one cannot claim to be a Catholic. Our faith is the one that in the world we cannot compromise in any way. God as conceived by the Moslems says: "When God says to His believers, 'When you go to paradise, you will be a hundred times richer than you are now on earth. This also applies to the number of wives that you have here on earth'." This conception of God is hardly what our Lord and Saviour is about.
Why do you attach more importance to Pope St. Pius V than to Pope Paul VI? After all, both are equally pope. Do you not accept the doctrine of papal infallibility? Do you feel that this doctrine applies more to one than the other?
I feel that on the side that Pope St. Pius V wanted to engage his infallibility because he used all the terms that all the popes traditionally and generally used when they want(ed) to manifest their infallibility. On the other hand, Pope Paul VI said himself that he didn't want to use his infallibility.
When did he indicate that?
He indicated this by not pronouncing his infallibility on any matter of faith as other popes have done throughout history. None of the decrees of Vatican II were issued with the weight of infallibility. Further, he has never engaged his infallibility on the subject of the Mass. He has never employed terms that have been employed by Pope St. Pius V when he (Paul VI) decided to allow this new Mass to be foisted on the faithful. I cannot compare the two acts of promulgation because they are completely different.
Has Pope Paul VI ever said that he did not believe in papal infallibility?
No. He never actually said this categorically. But Pope Paul VI is a liberal and he does not believe in the fixity of dogmas. He does not believe that a dogma must remain unchanged forever. He is for some evolution according to the wishes of men. He is for changes that are originated by humanist and modernist sources. And this is why he has so much trouble in fixing a truth forever. In fact, he is loath to do so personally and he is very ill at ease whenever such cases have arisen. This attitude reflects the spirit of modernism. The pope has never employed his infallibility in the matter of faith and morals to date.
Has the pope stated himself that he was a liberal or modernist?
Yes. The pope has manifested this in the council, which is not a pastoral council. He has also clearly stated so in his encyclical called Ecclesiam Suam. He has stated that his encyclicals would not define matters but he wished that they would be accepted as advice and lead to a dialogue. In his Credo, he said that he did not wish to employ his infallibility, which clearly shows where his leanings are.
Do you feel that his evolution toward dialogue is what allows you not to be in disagreement with the pope?
Yes. From the liberal standpoint they should allow this dialogue. When the pope does not use his infallibility on the subject of faith and morals, one is very much freer to discuss his words and his acts. From my point of view, I am bound to oppose what has taken place because it subverts the infallible teachings of the popes over 2,000 years. I am, however, not in favor of such dialogues because one cannot seriously dialogue about the truth of the Catholic faith. So really this is an inverted dialogue, which is forced upon me.
What would happen if the pope suddenly utilised his infallibility to order you to obey him? What would you do?
In the measure where the pope would employ his infallibility as the successor of St. Peter in a solemn manner, I believe that the Holy Ghost would not allow the pope to be in error at this very moment. Of course, I would heed the pope then.
But if the pope invoked his infallibility to back the changes you so strongly object to now, what would your attitude be then?
The question does not even arise, because, fortunately, the Holy Ghost is always there and the Holy Ghost would make sure that the pope would not use his infallibility for something that would be contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is for this very reason that the pope does not employ his infallibility because the Holy Ghost would not allow such changes to take place under the imprimatur of infallibility.
But if this should come to pass?
It is inconceivable, but if it did, the church would cease to exist. That would mean there would be no God, because God would be contradicting Himself, which is impossible.
But isn't the fact that Pope Paul VI occupies the seat of St. Peter enough for you to heed whatever the pontiff as the vicar of Christ on earth asks you to do, just as other Catholics do?
Unfortunately, this is an error. It is a misconception of papal infallibility because since the Council of Vatican I, when the dogma of infallibility was proclaimed, the pope was already infallible. This was not a sudden invention. Infallibility was then far better understood than it is now because it was well known then that the pope was not infallible on everything under the sun.
He was only infallible in very specific matters of faith and morals. At that time, many enemies of the church did all they could to ridicule this dogma and propagate misconceptions. For example, the enemies of the church often said to the unknowing and naive that if the pope said a dog was a cat, it was the duty of Catholics blindly to accept this position without any question.
Of course this was an absurd interpretation and the Catholics knew that. This time the same enemies of the church, now that it serves their purpose, are working very hard to have whatever the pope says accepted, without question, as infallible, almost as if his words were uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ himself.
This impression, although widely promoted, is nevertheless utterly false.
Infallibility is extremely limited, only bearing on very specific cases which Vatican I has very well defined and detailed. It is not possible to say that whenever the pope speaks he is infallible. The fact is that the pope is a liberal, that all this liberal trend has taken place at the Council of Vatican II, and created a direction for the destruction of the church - a destruction which one expects to happen any day.
After all of these liberal ideas have been infiltrated into the seminaries, the catechisms and all the manifestations of the church, I am now being asked to align myself with these liberal ideas. Because I have not aligned myself with these liberal ideas that would destroy the church, there are attempts to suppress my seminaries. And it is for this reason that I am asked to stop ordaining priests.
Enormous pressure is being exerted on me to align myself and to accept this orientation of destruction of the church, a path which I cannot follow. I do not accept to be in contradiction with what the popes have asserted for 20 centuries. Both myself and those who support me obey all the popes who have preceded us, or we obey the present pope. If we do (obey the present pope, i.e. Paul VI), we then disobey all the popes that have preceded us. Finally we end up disobeying the Catholic faith and God.
But as the bishops (of old) obeyed the popes of their days, shouldn't you obey the pope of your day?
The bishops do not have to obey the humanist orders that contradict Catholic faith and doctrine as established by Jesus Christ and all the various popes throughout the centuries.
So then are you deliberately choosing to disobey the present pope?
It has been a soul-searching and painful choice because events have really made it a choice of whom you disobey rather than whom you obey. I am making this choice without doubt or hesitation. I have chosen to disobey the present pope so that I could be in communion with 262 (former) popes.
Your independence has been attributed by several observers to a tradition of Gallicanism.2
On the contrary, I'm completely Roman and not at all Gallican. I'm for the pope as successor of St. Peter in Rome. All we ask is that the pope be, in fact, St. Peter's successor, not the successor of J.J. Rousseau, the Freemasons, the humanists, the modernists and (the) liberals.
Since you have said that these ideas have been widely spread and accepted throughout the world, including within the church, do you not consider you are taking on too much? How do you expect the Society of St. Pius X to counteract such a trend against what would appear overwhelming odds?
I trust our Lord the Saviour. The priests of the Society of St. Pius X trust our Lord and I have no doubt that God is inspiring us all. All those who fight for the true faith have God's full support. Of course, compared to the liberal machine, we are very small. I could die tomorrow. But God is allowing me to live a little longer so that I can help others in fighting for the true faith. It has happened before in the church. True Catholics had to work for the survival of the faith under general opprobrium and persecution from those who pretended to be Catholics. It is a small price to pay for being on the side of Jesus Christ.
When did this happen?
It happened with the very first pope. St. Peter was leading the faithful in error by his bad example of following Mosaic Laws. St. Paul refused to obey this order and led the opposition to it. Paul won out and St. Peter rescinded his error.
In the fourth century. St. Athanasius refused to obey Pope Liberius's orders. At that time, the church had been infiltrated by the ideas of the Arian heresy and the pope had been pressured to go along- with them. St. Athanasius led the opposition against this departure from church doctrine.
He was attacked mercilessly by the hierarchy. He was suspended. When he refused to submit, he was excommunicated. The opposition to the heresy finally built up momentum and at the death of Pope Liberius, a new pope occupied St. Peter's seat and recognized the church's indebtedness to St. Athanasius. The excommunication was lifted. He was recognized as a savior of the church and canonized.
In the seventh century, Pope Honorius I favored the Monotheletism heresy - the proposition that Jesus Christ did not possess a human will and hence was not a true man. Many Catholics who knew the church doctrines refused to accept this and did everything they could to stop the spread of this heresy.
The Council of Constantinople condemned Honorius I in 681 and anathematized him. There are many more examples of this nature when true Catholics stood up against apparent great odds, not to destroy or change the church but to keep the true faith.
I do not consider the odds overwhelming. One of the major aims of our society is to ordain priests - real priests - so that the Sacrifice of the Mass will continue; so that catechisms will continue; so that the Catholic faith will continue. Of course some bishops attack and criticise us. Some try to thwart our mission. But this is only temporary because when all the seminaries will be empty – they are almost empty now - what will the bishops do? Then there will be no more priests.
Why do you think there will be no more priests?
Because the seminaries of today are not teaching anything about the making of a priest; they teach liberal psychology, sociology, humanism, modernism and many other sciences and semi sciences that are either contrary to Catholic doctrine or have nothing whatever to do with church teachings or with what a priest should know. As for Catholic teachings, they are hardly being taught in today's seminaries.
What is being taught in the seminaries today?
For instance, in a New York seminary, theology professors are teaching seminarians that, "Jesus did not necessarily see what the result of His death on the Cross would be;" that: "No one is so thoroughly consistent that he does not say something that disagrees with what he said in the past. This even applies to Jesus;" that, "Joseph may have been the natural father of Christ;” and another professor teaches that: "One psychiatrist recommends extramarital sexual relations as a cure for impotence - I am open in this area and not closed to possibilities.”
Are these statements documented and on record?
Have they been brought to the attention of the hierarchy?
On numerous occasions,
Has the hierarchy made any attempt to stop such similar teachings?
Not to my knowledge.
Do you ever feel alone and isolated?
How can I feel alone when I am in communion with 262 popes and the whole of the Catholic faith? If you mean alone among other bishops, the answer is no. Hardly a day goes by that I (do not) receive some communication from some bishops, some priests, some laymen from different parts of the world expressing support and encouragement.
Why do they not come out publicly and support you?
As I have mentioned previously, many feel that they want to keep their positions in order to be in a position to do something about it should the occasion arise.
Does your stand separate you further from other Christian denominations?
Not at all. Only five days ago, some Orthodox heads came to see me to express their support for our stand.
Why should they express support when in fact you say that you are right and they are in error?
It is precisely because my stand is unequivocal that they support me. Many other Christian denominations have always looked at Rome as something of a stabilizing anchor in a tumultuous world. Whatever happened, they felt, Rome was always there, eternal, unchanging.
This presence gave them comfort and confidence.
Even more surprising are the Islamic leaders who have warmly congratulated me on my stand even though they fully know that I do not accept their religion.
Would not Christian charity try to avoid solidifying differences and divisions that could be healed?
Differences and divisions are part of this world. The unity of the church can only be gained by example and unswerving commitment to our Catholic faith. Charity starts with loyalty to one's faith.
What makes you believe that significant numbers of Orthodox, Protestants or Moslems support you?
Apart from direct, frequent contact these people have made with me, there was, for example, an extensive survey conducted by a reputable newspaper in Paris and they have surveyed members of these various denominations. The result was that far from finding our faith offensive or threatening to them, they admired the unequivocal stand, which we are taking.
On the other hand, they show utter contempt for all those liberal Catholics who were trying to make a mishmash of our Catholic faith as well as their religion.
Has not the pope invited you to be reconciled? Have you accepted this invitation?
I requested to see the pope last August. The pope refused unless I signed a statement accepting unconditionally all the resolutions of Vatican II. I would very much like to see the pope, but I cannot sign resolutions paving the way for the destruction of the church.
How can you be loyal to the church and disobedient to the pope?
One must understand the meaning of obedience and must distinguish between blind obedience and the virtue of obedience. Indiscriminate obedience is actually a sin against the virtue of obedience.
So if we disobey in order to practice the virtue of obedience rather than submit to unlawful commands contrary to Catholic moral teachings, all one has to do is to consult any Catholic theology books to realise we are not sinning against the virtue of obedience.
1 The followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre insist on preserving the so-called Tridentine Mass. This was the Mass (and attendant ritual) that followed upon the Council of Trent (Trento, Italy) and that was pronounced as permanent and irrevocable by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. This is the Mass that Latin Rite Roman Catholics knew for 400 years until the service was rewritten after Vatican Council II (1962-1965).
2 Gallicanism, associated with French Roman Catholicism, was a tradition of resistance to papal authority. There were two aspects of Gallicanism, royal and ecclesiastical. The first asserted the rights of French monarchs over the French Roman Catholic Church; the second asserted the rights of general councils over the pope. Both were condemned as heresies at the First Vatican Council in 1870.
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