The Archbishop Speaks: On Liberalism

Archbishop Lefebvre Crest


A Speech given by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
29 December 1975 in Barcelona, Spain

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please excuse me for not speaking your language, which, though I can understand it a little, I cannot speak with any fluency. Thus I am obliged to ask one of my seminarians who speaks Spanish to interpret for me. My first duty is to thank the gentlemen surrounding me who prepared so well this evening's conference. I must say that I did not expect to find so great a crowd: I rejoice in it and I thank the organizers from my heart.

I am here among you today to speak of the crisis within the Church, of which your President spoke just moments ago. I have not come here to defend my particular thesis or orientation of my own within the Church, but simply and truly to defend the Faith. It is to defend the Catholic Faith that I believe it necessary to respond to the appeal of lay people and priests who are aware of the gravity of the situation in which the Church finds Herself today. I attempt to the best of my ability to give them the reasons and the motives of this crisis, and in so doing to discover the remedies. It is for this reason only that you have called me here among you, as last month I was in Canada and before that in England and Belgium. I respond willingly to the appeals of the laity, disturbed by what is happening in the Church, to attempt with them to find what we can do to solve this crisis.

The Church and Liberalism

It appears to me impossible to understand the present situation of the Church without reference to the past two hundred years. Throughout the period from the late 18th century on, Popes like Pius VI, Pius VII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, St. Pius X and Pius XII have had to fight against Liberalism and liberal Catholicism. They have been obliged to affirm constantly that the Church is Truth, that it is necessary to believe in the Church, which is the sole way, the sole ark of salvation, the only Church in possession of all the Truth which Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed. These Popes considered themselves obliged to struggle without ceasing against the ideas of the Liberals and thus to defend Holy Church. And it is precisely these Liberal errors which, despite papal condemnations, are constantly returning to the surface and explain the situation of the Church today.

What did the Liberal Catholics have in mind as their principal object? From the beginning, they have desired to see the principles of the Revolution in 1789 united with the principles of the Church. They have always worked to make the Church accept the principles which are at the base of the destruction of Christian civilization and Christianity itself.

These principles, as you know, are Protestant principles, for Protestantism is essentially Liberal, and from that protesting spirit came the philosophie sof the 18th century: Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and all the others who were nothing but the loud-speakers of a Liberal philosophy; that is, of a philosophy which willed to liberate itself, for the Liberal is he who would liberate himself from all the constraints of the Truth. Truth obliges our intellects to understand things as they are and reality imposes itself upon us. The Liberal wants no part of this Truth which imposes itself but would rather make up his own truth for himself. He desires to LIBERATE HIMSELF FROM DOGMA and does not want Truth imposed on him from without by Faith, Revelation or the Church; in the name of science he refuses all dogma. In the name of his intelligence and his human reason the LIBERAL REFUSES FAITH. Finally, the third element of Liberalism, the Liberal wishes to LIBERATE HIMSELF FROM THE LAW. He wants no part of it! He has his conscience and he considers that it alone will suffice as his measure and his law, and that in consequence he can reject all moral law. It is this liberty which rejects all society and all organization which is the basis of Liberalism. With the Liberal there is no more authority, no more authority of God, who is the Truth; no more authority of Jesus Christ, Who is Revelation; no more authority in society.

You can see that from the time of these philosophes, from the time of Protestantism, and from the time further of those who succeeded to these Liberals, we have come to a total destruction of society. Until the Second Vatican Council, one could say that the Church always resisted Liberalism; the Church, through the Popes, always condemned it and told us that we had to accept the Truth, the Faith, the Law. But the Liberal is against authority, and the two simply cannot co-exist. So Liberalism began slowly to infiltrate into the interior life of the Church, into the mentality of the seminaries, and later it even succeeded in penetrating deep into the minds of many bishops. Thus, the general desire to rally to the principles of Liberalism, to see the Church adapt them without danger to Herself. And that is just what they tried to do at the Council. THE COUNCIL WAS NOTHING OTHER THAN AN ATTEMPT TO ASSIMILATE TO THE CHURCH THE PRINCIPLES OF LIBERALISM, AN ATTEMPT TO UNITE THE CHURCH TO LIBERAL PRINCIPLES.

I have already said many times in my conferences that the three most disputed matters at the Council were collegiality, ecumenism and religious liberty. These three subjects were all topics of strong emotion at the Council. We fought—conservatives against liberals—over religious liberty, we fought over ecumenism, and we fought over collegiality. But, of course, these three subjects of so much violent discussion at the Council correspond precisely to the three Liberal principles of liberty, equality, fraternity. "Liberty" is religious liberty: they wished to bring into the Church a conception of religious liberty different from that of Tradition, and corresponding rather with the Liberal principles of the Revolution. "Equality" is collegiality; that is, democracy introduced into the Church. And, "fraternity", of course, is ecumenism: one is to embrace everybody without distinction, everybody is our "brother", Moslems, Protestants, Buddhists, and all religions—we are all "brothers."

Indeed it was the principles of the Revolution which were introduced into the Council through the intermediary of these three ideas. Never had the Church thought of ecumenism as did the Council. Ecumenism is traditionally understood in the following ways: there is first of all the Ecumenical Council, or General Council, which is a gathering together of all the bishops. Then there is the so-called ecumenical World Council of Churches, which is a Protestant organization. We had begun to practice ecumenism a little before the Council, but this simple dialogue between Catholics and Protestants was carried on with much prudence. But what they mean by ecumenism today—a conception leading to intercommunion between Protestants and Catholics, and to the mingling of ceremonies, rites, and prayers with Protestants and all sorts of religions—is a false ecumenism leading, in truth, to the abolition of the Catholic Faith.


Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty as spoken of by the Popes was liberty of religion, not religions; these two concepts are not at all the same. The Popes have always affirmed that there must be liberty of religion, that is of Truth and thus of the Catholic religion, but not of all religions without distinction. There was tolerance of error and thus of other religions, but not at all the same rights for both truth and error. Pius VII treated this question very clearly. He protested to Louis XVIII over the establishment in France of liberty of cults or religions, which had not existed before. "Insofar even as one decrees the liberty of every cult without distinction, one confounds truth and error and places at the same level with sects and faithless Judaism the holy and immaculate Bride of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation." So spoke Pius VII, and so have spoken all the Popes. One cannot put all religions on the same footing. But read what the Council in De Libertate Religiosa has to say and you will see that in practice all States are asked to do just that: to give the same rights to every religion. Thus all religions can have a public organization, can possess schools and publishing houses, can freely disseminate their ideas. All this is of an exceptional gravity. By this fact alone one must revise every concordat that the Holy See has with Catholic States. Next, in the name of this same religious liberty, these states will be told to change, not only their concordats, but their constitutions as well.

I can give you a concrete example which is easily applied to Spain: Colombia. I was in Colombia a year and a half ago and while there I discovered, quite by chance, that the government through the President of the Republic, had announced to the people that the constitution was changed, that at the request of the Holy See the first article of the constitution had been removed. That first article of the Colombia Constitution had read: "The Catholic Religion is the only religion recognized by the Colombian Republic." It was this that was removed at the demand of the Holy See, in the name of religious liberty. This led to controversy in the Colombian papers and so the President of the Republic gave a speech on the matter. In it he expressed his regret to the people, for he understood that many Catholics would be surprised to learn that in Colombia the social kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ had been suppressed at its roots. For it was no less than that. He said further that so long as he was President, he would strive to have always an immense respect for the Catholic religion, that he was a Catholic himself and that he certainly had the desire to do everything that he could for the Catholic Church, but that from now on it would no longer be the only religion officially recognized by Colombia. The Nuncio gave a speech on progress, development, human dignity, a speech that could have been made by a Freemason. And the third speech was given by the President of the Episcopal Conference, who simply referred to the conciliar document on religious liberty. He said that it was normal that after the Council, because of what the Church had said in the document on religious liberty, the Catholic religion would no longer be the only one recognized in the Republic of Colombia. Now, the President of Colombia had said that 98% of the population of Colombia were Catholics and only 2% were non-Catholics. Afterwards, I learned from the secretary of the Assembly that for two years they had besieged the President's office, in the name of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to change that constitution. It is clearly then the Holy See which insisted that they suppress that article of the Colombian Constitution, which is a very grave and very important example for Spain. For you can be certain that presently those who are in the Holy See want to change your constitution, not the concordat only, but the constitution.

No doubt you ask yourselves, how is it possible that such a thing was accepted by the Council Fathers. Well, I assure you that we did everything to prevent the passing of that constitution on religious liberty. There were 250 of us bishops who had understood the very grave danger to which the Catholic States are exposed after a declaration such as that on religious liberty. For ultimately, if one summarizes this declaration, it signifies that the State should be neutral in religion, it should not be concerned with it, it should simply grant liberty to all religions to develop in its midst. It is not the State that should choose its religion. Now, this is absolutely contrary to the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the very purpose of the Church.

Why does the Church exist on this earth, if not to propagate the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to bring by means of this Kingship Christian civilization, the only viable civilization? There is nothing outside of Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Peter said it: "Non est in alto aliquo salus." There is no other name on earth given for our salvation but that of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, if a State is Catholic, if the head of a government is Catholic, if 98% of a population is Catholic, it is the duty of the head of State to refuse the other religions, to allow them merely a certain tolerance, if he cannot do otherwise, but to guard the Faith, the Faith that is the source of the salvation of every soul and, as a result, to contribute to the work of the Church in keeping souls united to Our Lord and of saving them for eternity. That is the role of every Catholic head of a Catholic State; that is what the Church has always taught.

Moreover, the excuse that they gave us at the Council, when we recalled these principles, was that once there would no longer be any Catholic States, Russia would agree, in her turn, to grant religious liberty. The Soviets will understand that we make an exchange. We suppress the Catholic States and then Russia will accept, as well, the granting of religious liberty to all religions. But that was to deceive us, because in the end, even those who said that to us, knew very well that Russia would never accept such a thing.

. . . these Popes considered themselves obliged to struggle without ceasing against the ideas of the Liberals, and thus to defend Holy Church. And it is precisely these Liberal errors which, despite the Papal condemnations, are constantly returning to the surface and which explain the situation of the Church today.

Consequently, the sole purpose of that declaration was inspired by Masonry; the Masonry that still pursues its goal of suppressing the Kingship of Our Lord on earth and of making a kind of universal religion, which will be more the religion of the devil than anything else, for there can be no other religion than that of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And what is not of Our Lord Jesus Christ is from the devil: it is not possible any other way. There is only one religion here below that can save us; therefore, let them not come to tell us that, according to human dignity, all religions are good. That is what Father Congar said, when they explained to him that the truth had always been proclaimed by the Church, the truth of the Catholic Church, the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only means of saving souls. He replied that now, things are no longer considered from the point of view of truth, but from that of human dignity. Human dignity, in order to speak of religious liberty, of liberty for all religions!

But let us define human dignity; what is human dignity? Human dignity, why it is to love truth and to love good; the truth, that is, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we find ourselves again under Our Lord Jesus Christ. Under the pretext of human dignity, it is necessary to allow each one to have the religion he wants. But you see, that suppresses every missionary idea of the Church. Why go to the missions, if all the religions are good, if each one is free to have his own religion? Therefore, one can no longer preach the Gospel; it is no longer possible to be a missionary. This declaration of religious liberty is a text that ruins the Church, which is in the process of being ruined in its most solid foundations because it is the ruin of the missionary spirit and the ruin of all Catholic States, of all Catholic societies.



I would like to say a few words about the second reality, which has introduced democracy into the Church: collegiality. Why the idea of collegiality? to introduce this principle that is contrary to the authority of the priest: that it is always necessary to consult one's inferiors, that it is necessary for them to participate in the exercise of authority, that authority can no longer act without making the grass roots participate in its exercise.

And this is very grave; in the Catholic Church authority is personal, the authority of the Pope is a personal authority, an authority which comes to him certainly from the designation at the Conclave, but which nonetheless comes to him directly from God, once he is designated. It is only the designation of the Pope and not his authority which comes from his colleagues, the cardinals. And the same for the bishop: the bishop has his authority from the consecration, it is from his consecration as a bishop that he has his authority over his diocese. Likewise, when the priest is nominated pastor of his parish, he receives the authority from above and not from his parishioners. He receives then his authority from God; it is a participation in the authority of God.

Moreover, all authority comes from God, that is what Saint Paul said: "Omnis potestas a Deo—there is no power that does not come from God." Even the father of a family, even the least of persons who exercises authority over others always participates in a certain way in the authority of God. Now, this principle of collegiality goes exactly counter to this authority, in creating councils, synods, priest senates, episcopal conferences, which make it so that authority practically, morally, can no longer act alone, even if physically it still can. It can no longer practically because it knows that it risks having considerable difficulties put up against it, if it does not employ this means. The bishop no longer can do anything without his priest senate, the pastor can no longer do anything without his parish council, the Pope can no longer do anything practically, if he does not consult the synod or the episcopal conferences.

Until the Second Vatican Council, one could say that the Church
always resisted Liberalism; the Church, through the Popes,
always condemned it and told us that we had to accept the Truth,
the Faith, and the Law. But the Liberal is against authority . . .


And how often one hears now in the Roman Congregations, when one makes a request before the Holy Father, that it is necessary to consult the episcopal conference. The episcopal conference has become a screen between the bishops, between the priests, between the faithful and the Pope, whereas formerly the Pope was the Father of us all and the most humble layman could write to him and receive a reply, knowing that his cause could be heard and studied. Today, it is impossible; no longer can any priest or layman, or even a bishop appeal directly to the Pope to ask him for a reply. They reply saying that one should see the episcopal conference.

The episcopal conference is not a divine institution, and this is very important. They have introduced democratic organs into the Church and thus have destroyed the divine authority that was found there and which can no longer be exercised in a normal manner, in a regular manner. All the bishops are afraid of one another and when one asks them something, for example, why they do not make a decision regarding their seminary, regarding the catechism, regarding their schools, they reply that they need to consult their colleagues, the episcopal conference, such and such a commission, that they can no longer do anything, that they are not free. They no longer have any liberty and that is very grave. A bishop who no longer commands in his diocese, is no longer the father of his diocese; he is no longer the father.

Without a doubt, it is very useful for the bishops to ask advice, but that was already in the Canon Law of former times. The bishop had his council, but a council without deliberative power, which had simply a consulting power, which he could bring together when he wished, and the members of which he named himself, whereas now, all the councils are elected and the bishop finds himself before a council, the members of which he does not have the power to change. These are very grave things within the Church. That there be episcopal conferences is not a bad thing, as long as their power is very limited, the power simply to hear one another mutually, for example, to establish a seminary, a university, to found a Catholic newspaper; that the bishops consult among themselves, is a good thing. But that that become an organism of such a kind that the bishops can no longer do anything in their diocese without consulting the commission of the episcopal conference, the commission of seminaries, the commission of the press, the commission of schools, the commission of catechesis, that is absolutely inadmissible. The bishop cannot depend in such a way on a commission; it is absolutely contrary to all the laws of the Church.



It is necessary to note the consequences of ecumenism: the consequence of ecumenism is the whole liturgical reform. The whole liturgical reform comes from the ecumenical spirit; in my opinion, from a false ecumenism, an ecumenism which desires, neither more nor less, to assimilate us to Protestantism. They wanted to draw us near to the Protestants, but not by attracting Protestants closer to Catholicism, but, on the contrary, by making Catholicism come near to Protestantism, which is not at all the same thing.

And it is for this reason that they have changed the formulas of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is for this reason that they have also changed those of the Sacraments, that they have modified even the Breviary of the priests, that they have modified the calendar as well; all that has been made in an ecumenical spirit, always in order to avoid everything that would disturb the Protestants. But by having asked themselves, before reforming, what the Protestants think, they end up obviously by eliminating everything that is specifically Catholic, everything that truly recalls our Faith against the Protestant errors.

For example, take the texts that have been given now for funerals. You will see that in them they no longer make the distinction between the body and the soul. The distinction between the body and the soul has been eliminated. They speak of the vital principle, but it is no longer the body and the soul. This is very serious.

From the priest's Breviary they have removed all the psalms of imprecation against the enemies of the Church, those psalms which ask God to reduce to nothingness the enemies of religion, the enemies of the Church. Why? Are we henceforth to censure even the Holy Ghost? That is exactly what they do—those who choose from among the psalms only those which appeal to the Protestants. Here again we encounter the same thing—we must never displease the Protestants!

And the same thing occurs in the Mass, where, in order to please the Jews, the new Offertory is nothing other than the Jewish benediction, the benediction of a rabbi who blesses the family meal. The present Offertory has been taken from fourth century texts, of a rabbi giving the blessing of the table!

And if you study the transformation of the Canon, and in particular the texts of the Consecration, you will find these same texts in Luther; these changes are exactly those which he himself introduced, and nothing less. Luther himself added the words: "quo pro vobis tradetur"—"hoc est corpus Meum, quod pro vobis tradeur" as the present text reads—"given up for you." This is My Body given up for you. Why did Luther add that? Because it brings closer to mind the account of the Supper; and for the Lutherans, for the Protestants, the Mass is nothing other than the reproduction of the Last Supper. For them it is not a sacrifice, but a meal and thus the Mass is the memorial of a meal. As a result, it was necessary to reproduce with yet greater exactitude that which took place at the Last Supper, in such a way as to bring to mind the meal and not the sacrifice.

But the Council of Trent made this point very clear by declaring: "If anyone says that at the Last Supper there was only a meal, and not a sacrifice, let him be anathema—anathema sit." For there was a sacrifice at the Last Supper—Our Lord separated His Body and His Blood, prefiguring the Sacrifice which He was about to offer upon the Cross. There was a real sacrifice at the Last Supper. But the Protestants deny this; they want to reproduce precisely the recitation of the Last Supper by saying that it was nothing but a repast, a commemorative meal. That is also why there is no longer any difference in the tone of voice employed; they recite the narrative without varying the tone, without stopping before the words of Consecration, whereas formerly in the Roman Missal, one was very well aware of the fact that an extraordinary mystery was being enacted during Holy Mass: the mystery of the sacrificial action of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was continuing His Sacrifice of the Cross—an altogether different conception from that of the Protestants.

The Protestant notion is a dead one, because it is a merely historical one; one repeats things which were accomplished in time, as a historical account. In the Catholic notion, to the contrary, the Mass is an act, a sacrificial act, a veritable sacrifice. It is the same as the Sacrifice which took place on Calvary—there is no difference between the Sacrifice of Calvary and the Holy Mass. There is only the difference that at Calvary the Sacrifice was bloody, whereas at Mass it is unbloody. But both the Victim and the Priest are the same. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Priest, and we are only His ministers. We act in the person of Christ, but He is the true minister.

As a result, one understands all the gestures and attitudes of the priest during the Roman Canon: he stops before pronouncing the marvellous words, the words which are going to produce a miracle, the most extraordinary miracle which Our Lord ever performed, the mystery which is the source of all Christian civilization. Do not forget that—Christian civilization finds itself integrally in the words of the Consecration pronounced by the priest in the Sacrifice which he effects; the entire Christian conception is a conception of sacrifice, of sacrificial oblation. The Christian must offer himself in sacrifice with Our Lord; the religious is nothing other than a victim offered publicly by the Church. The priest unites himself to the Victim which is upon the altar, and this united oblation has a repercussion upon Christian life, upon Christian civilization. Our civilization is held together entirely upon the altar, at the Sacrifice of the Mass, at the words of Consecration: it is there where we find the heart of Christian civilization. And thus the reason for our beautiful churches, our magnificent cathedrals, our majestic sanctuaries which encompass the altar.

For the Protestant, all that is dead. Protestantism is a religion of history, an historical religion, but a dead one. Why, then, do the innovators imitate the Protestants? Why do they now have us do as the Protestants do, so that the priest recites recto tono, a narration, and no longer bows down to pronounce the words of Consecration, nor does he make but one genuflection after the Presence of Our Lord is realized? These changes are extremely dangerous. As a result of wanting to assimilate us to the Protestants, we will become Protestants ourselves! The children especially, who have not known the way things were done in former times, will have a Protestant mentality. When asked as to what takes place at the altar, they will answer that it is a meal, a eucharist, a communion; but they will not say that it is the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the re-enactment of Calvary. They will not say that anymore because they do not know anymore, they are not taught that anymore, and therefore it will not be believed anymore. And even priests are beginning to doubt the Real Presence! Thus, the Blessed Sacrament is relegated to a side altar, distributed without respect and by any person whatsoever—all because there is no longer this realization of the Sacrifice of the Mass. All this is extremely grave, and is all done under the title of "ecumenism."

And I ought yet to cite as a consequence of this "ecumenism" the reform of the catechism. This is an extremely serious matter—this new catechism where they leave aside, without actually denying, certain truths of the Faith. They no longer mention the angels, they no longer talk of hell, of purgatory, and much less of limbo. They no longer talk of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin; they talk of Mary, yes, but they do not say that she is ever-virgin—thus, they suppress the "semper" of "semper virgo." Nor do they talk anymore of original sin. But all these truths are essential to our holy religion! We cannot fail to affirm these things!

Then they will say that, insofar as children are concerned, to talk of hell, purgatory, original sin, and the like will give them a complex! One must not therefore insist too much on these topics! And then, again, our religion, so they say, must after all "evolve"—the expression of the Faith must "evolve." But in so transforming the catechism (and that is what is being done in every country), they finish by transforming our Faith, even the very concept of our Faith. For what is our Faith: what is the Catholic Faith? It is the adherence of our intellect to the revelation made by Our Lord Jesus Christ because of the authority of God Who reveals it. That is the real definition of the Catholic Faith.

The Protestant faith is an entirely different thing. It is a mere confidence in God, an interior sentiment which pushes one towards God, an interior testimony of confidence in God. And you will notice that the modern formulae of the sacraments are precisely more a testimonial of our Faith than an expression thereof. And this, too, is very dangerous.

Baptism, for example, according to the new formulae, is more an initiation, an entry into the Christian community, than the redemption from original sin and the acquisition of the divine sonship. It is simply an initiation into the Christian community. This same type of collectivism shows itself again in the new sacrament of penance with its collective absolutions. Yes, now there is collective absolution—it is done in common, and if you note well you will see that the sins they ask one to confess are no longer personal sins which we have committed against God, but rather sins committed against the community. Have we sinned against charity, against our neighbor? Henceforth these will be the sins of which they ask us to accuse ourselves. But sins such as blasphemy and the like, those sins perpetrated directly against God, no!

This Declaration of religious liberty is a text that ruins the Church, which is in the process of being ruined, in its most solid foundations, because it is the ruin of the missionary spirit and the ruin of all Catholic States, of all Catholic societies...

Next, the Communion—the Eucharist, as they are overly wont to call it, is also the expression of the community—it is the sharing of bread, a sharing which signifies the union of the community. We share the same bread, we are therefore all united. You can easily see from all this what becomes of the Holy Mass, to what it is reduced: it is reduced to a type of expression of the Christian community. And the priest? The priest becomes the president of the community. No longer will they talk of his sacerdotal character, which is conferred upon him in order that he offer the Sacrifice of the Mass. No longer will they talk of this indelible character which makes him participate, so to speak, in the grace of the hypo-static union of Our Lord, and which thus renders him capable of pronouncing the words of Consecration and of offering sacrifice. He is no longer that, the priest—he will become merely the one who presides over the community. And lastly, matrimony will henceforth be nothing but the material multiplication of members of the Christian community.

And so it is with all our sacraments. In this way they give a collectivist idea to all our sacraments, and no longer this marvellous reality which is grace, whereby we are reborn to the supernatural life by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is a completely different thing, a world of difference. On the one side we remain on a purely human level—religious, if you will, but nevertheless human; whereas on the other side we are elevated to the supernatural order, to the divine life itself, the life of the Blessed Trinity.

It is Our Lord who came upon earth in order to allow us to participate in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. There is a world of difference, you see, and this is what makes the splendor and beauty of the priest. We understand then, that if the priest is nothing more than the president of an assembly, if the Eucharist is nothing more than a sign of communion, then there is no reason why he should not face the congregation. It is a meal; one does not turn one's face from one's guests, one places himself facing towards them. If it is a meal, we understand why they receive Communion in the hand, for there is no reason not to do so. At a meal, one is not mouth-fed as infants are. All of this is easily understood if the Eucharist is nothing but a sign of our communion, a meal which recalls the Last Supper; all of these liturgical innovations may easily be understood if this be the case.

However, if one returns to the notion of sacrifice, the case is entirely different. If the Victim, the cause of the sacrifice, is truly present upon the altar and the communion is the fruit of the sacrifice, the consequence of the sacrifice, we then consume the Victim, we participate in the Victim Who is present upon the altar. The concept is entirely different. We may then readily understand that the priest who offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he who pronounces the mysterious words, in a certain manner detached from earth—he is with God. We understand then why he is turned away from the congregation, that he may be alone with God as the Great Priest in the temple (in the Old Testament), who used to go once a year behind the veil of the temple to be with God alone and who used to then return to bring blessings to the people. We understand then why the priest is turned towards the crucifix, he is turned towards God and enacts this mystery and then he faces towards the congregation in order to give them Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Consequently, since it is truly God Who is present upon the altar, with what great respect must we kneel before Him; with what great respect must we receive Him; with such respect that we dare not touch with hands which are not consecrated, which are not sanctified, but rather that we receive the Sacred Host upon our tongue. This is the Catholic concept. Therefore, there is a very grave danger in this liturgical reform; I do not say that it is heretical, nor do I say that it is invalid, but I do say that there is a serious danger, a very serious danger that gradually one acquires a purely Protestant conception of these things.



Consequently, we must be very prudent and fight to the death, if need be, in order to deliver the Church from these enemies who are within. We must combat; we must organize ourselves and we must especially conserve Tradition; we must conserve Tradition. It is for this reason that I wish to encourage the priests who are here to keep the Tradition, to keep the liturgy of all times, because with it we are certain to have valid sacraments, we are sure to have the Truth. With that which has recently been given to us, all is crumbling; people are losing the Faith, there are no more religious vocations—but why all of this?—due to the lack of Tradition. Once they re-establish Tradition, vocations will come—and good vocations! I speak from personal experience—my seminary!

In my seminary, the young men are excellent; they truly give me great satisfaction. These young men come from America, England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and France—from everywhere. I sincerely believe that these seminarians will become good priests; they will become holy priests because they know what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass truly is. They know that they exist, that they become priests, in order to give Our Lord Jesus Christ to souls—not merely bread, no merely ordinary food—but Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. They know that they become priests to preach the Gospel and that one cannot be saved without the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, they will be missionaries, they will be true priests.

This is what I think we must do: It is necessary to unite yourselves, to group yourselves together. You must defend the Faith. You must teach the catechism—the true catechism—to your children. Flock to your priests—your true priests—those who still have the Faith; defend them in order to have some for your children, to be sure that your children learn the Catholic Faith—and not a faith which is no longer Catholic! You must also have Catholic schools. We must re-establish Christianity.

You must not remain indifferent and watch the destruction of the Church bit by bit, day by day, year by year; to watch the Church—our Church, fall into ruins, without any resistance on our part—without the courage to say that the Good Lord is All-Powerful, that we are yet able to do something; that which Catholics have done for nearly 2,000 years, why do we not do this today?

Certainly, I am taken as a reactionary, as an "ultra-traditionalist," for someone who impedes reform —and it is true! I am hindering reform. Yes, indeed, for I do not accept it! I consider this reform a reform to destroy the Church. I think that I have showed you this. It is, therefore, clear that it is for this that I am attacked by Rome, by this power of subversion that is found there. I have been asked to close my seminary; I have been asked to send away all of my seminarians. In conscience, however, I think that I must say that I will not collaborate in the destruction of the Church; I cannot collaborate in the destruction of the Church!

I shall close this conference by asking you to pray, assuring you that I pray whole-heartedly that the Good Lord will raise defenders of those from among you. You are such already, but I pray that He will raise up an organization to defend the Faith in order that there be no division among you; on the contrary, that there will be union in the Faith, in the defense of the Faith, in defense of the Liturgy, in defense of the catechism; in order that there still be hope in Spain, as elsewhere. I can assure you that presently in Switzerland, in Germany, in France, in the United States, in Canada—everywhere—faithful Catholics who do not want to see their faith disappear, are gathering together, and that these groups are becoming more and more numerous. Some day they will impose themselves upon the bishops, and the bishops will be forced to recognize the fact that these people are those upon whom one may rely in order to rebuild the Church, that the people are the true Catholics, who will be the most faithful, the faithful most certain.

At present we are in a generalized revolution. Let us, therefore, work for the social reign of Our Lord. Let us work in order that Our Lord truly reign over us. Have confidence especially in the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that we must have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother, as Spaniards have always had.

When I travelled across South America, I saw there shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, in Peru. I visited Peru and Bolivia; all of these countries have been traces of the Spanish, who converted all of these regions, and who brought there the true worship, especially that of the Cross and very often that of the "Santa Fe." There are many villages and cities which are called "Santa Fe," and others which are named in honor of the Cross of Our Lord, or in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This is all extremely beautiful, and you must have this vigorous faith of your ancestors, who sent missionaries across the entire world, and who permitted South America to preserve its faith.

Some of the bishops who wrote to me at the time of the episcopal reunion in Spain I know quite well, for example Msgr. Castan, Msgr. Guerra Campose, Msgr. Morcillo, to all of whom I may say I was a friend. I told these bishops to beware, never to place any confidence in the text on Religious Liberty of the Council. If they begin to place confidence in these principles, then the Revolution of 1936 will begin again; you will have a second civil war in Spain. You must hold firmly to the principles of the Catholic Faith and not to the liberty of all religions, nor the principles of Liberalism, in order to save Spain from a second war as the one of which many of you were witnesses in 1936.

May the Good Lord keep you from seeing again things as abominable and tragic as those through which you lived! If many shed their blood in order that Spain remain Catholic, then you must not now abandon your Catholic values and fall into a state worse than that in which you were at that time.

All Spaniards must give a ferocious example of resistance, founded upon the Faith, the love of the Cross, and the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From the French text, appearing in Fideliter, No. 11, September 1979. Translated by seminarians of the Society of St. Pius X, Ecône, March, 1980.