The Archbishop Speaks
The Sermon of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
on the Occasion of Ordinations to the
Priesthood 29 June 1985 at EcÃ´ne
My dear friends, we are gathered here again under the patronage of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, martyrs. How can we not turn our thoughts and our hearts to Rome—Rome, which this first pope and this great apostle watered with their blood, along with so many other martyrs. With what feeling we read this morning in the Breviary the lessons from Pope St. Leo, who addresses this city Rome. O Roma, he says, quae eras magistra erroris, facta es discipula veritatis. "O Rome, once the teacher of error, you are now the servant of truth." What beautiful words: servant of truth. He adds that this city Rome once collected all errors of all nations. Omnium gentium erroribus serviebat: Rome seemed to be at the service of the errors of all nations, of all gods, collected in Rome. And Rome imagined she had a great religion, St. Leo goes on to say, a magnum religionem, precisely because she had brought all religions together in her bosom.
These words of St. Leo, which describe ancient, pagan Rome, make us reflect on the situation today in Rome. What does Rome think of us, gathered here together today, to celebrate, attend, and participate in these ordinations to the priesthood? We know something of this from the book that has just appeared by Cardinal Ratzinger. He speaks of us. And what does he say of us? He says he is surprised that the Society of St. Pius X should be so attached to the popes (this is really a great consolation for us) before the Council, and yet should have such serious reservations toward the popes after the Council. If we are so attached to the papacy, why do we make such distinctions among popes? But he answers his own question, in his own book. The interviewer asks him: "Your Eminence, do you think something has changed in the Church since the 1960's?" And the Cardinal answers, "Yes, something has in fact changed since the 1960's." That is to say, since Vatican II. And what is this change? It consists in adopting the values of the world, the values of liberalism. These have been adopted by the Church. That is what he says.
We reject these liberal values which have been introduced into the Church by Vatican II and the postconciliar reform. We absolutely reject them—precisely in order to obey the popes and the Church of all time. All the popes have condemned these compromises, these errors of the world, because they are contrary to our holy religion. And what is the most monumental error? The greatest error is to accept the equality of all religions, the validity of all religions.
Recall the words of St. Leo which I just quoted: "Rome was thought to have a great religion because she united all religions in the world in her bosom." So now they are hoping to go back to pagan Rome by this ecumenism which is drawing together all religions. And this is not imagination. The Vatican sent official delegates for the laying of the cornerstone of the great mosque which is being built within the city limits of Rome. The Pope himself, you remember, went to a Lutheran church in Rome, to pray with the Protestants, thus recognizing this false religion, invented by the devil. And what about the eulogy of Martin Luther at the time of his fifth centenary, the eulogy of the most abominable heresiarch that humanity has ever produced, who destroyed the unity of Christendom? There you have the situation.
This is why, since the Council, something has changed, something new introduced into the Church, something we reject. And we know this has been introduced especially by the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians. Cardinal Bea, President of this Secretariat, had official, public contact—known to the whole world—with the Freemasons of New York, with B'nai B'rith. The B'nai B'rith asked him to introduce into the Catholic Church the freedom of all religions. The popes have always defended religious freedom, i.e., of the true religion, of the religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ—but not the freedom of all religions, and therefore of all errors. Now this is what Cardinal Bea introduced into the Church by means of the Decree on Religious Freedom. The result is that Cardinal Bea received the gold medal for religious freedom from this Masonic group, composed entirely of Jews. I think we need no more proof; the evidence is clear enough. Freemasonry wanted to introduce into the Church this false notion of religious freedom to destroy the truth of the Church.
Why did they persecute Peter and Paul and all the martyrs? Because they were Christians, because they born the name of Christian, because they were disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and because these disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ claimed this religion to be the only true one. And it was in the process of converting all followers of false religions, false gods and false cults to the one true religion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So the name of Christian became hated by all the disciples of these religions. And the emperors, protectors of these false religions, persecuted all Christians, because they said, "We are the only true religion." If anyone wants to go to heaven, to save his soul, he must be converted to Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the first and most fundamental truth that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught us. And because Jesus Christ is God, this is our religion. This is our truth.
And this is our trouble with Rome, dear friends. If you want to know why these troubles with Rome, it is because we reject ecumenism, because we reject the freedom of all religions, because we have only one God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. We repeat this in all our prayers: there is only one God, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. And clearly for this reason we are persecuted by all the devotees of false religions. We are persecuted today—we, you— members of the Society or not of the Society—who defend these truths, who defend this truth of the Christian religion. You are not ecumenical, so you are not allowed in our Catholic churches, which were built for the Christian religion, to honor Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only God, the only Savior, by His Cross, by His Sacrifice. We are driven out of these churches because we reject the idea that all religions are equal. You know perfectly well this is true. They receive Protestants, Moslems, in our churches. They receive Freemasons, they give Communion to anyone at all, in our churches, in Catholic churches, built for the one true religion. So it is now normal that we are driven out of our churches. We can no longer pray there and continue worshipping as we once did in our churches. And so if we cannot go into the churches, we will keep the faith! We will keep the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And now I address a few words to you, my dear friends, who will in a few minutes receive the grace of ordination to the priesthood. You know you will receive three powers reserved to priests: potestas praedicandi (docendi), potestas sanctificandi, potestas regendi: the power to preach the truth of the gospel, the power to sanctify, and the power to direct and guide souls, like shepherds. These are the three powers you are going to receive. And these three powers will make you into other Christs. Whom do you preach? Jesus Christ. By whom do you sanctify? By Jesus Christ. How, by whom do you direct souls? By Christ, like Christ, in Christ. Totally united to Our Lord Jesus Christ. From now on your whole life will be united to His: no gray areas, no compromises with error, no compromises with false religions. You are the shepherds who must lead souls to eternal life by Our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the powers of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself you are about to receive. To preach Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is just what the apostles and all Christians did, but especially those who were anointed as priests and charged with preaching the gospel of truth. And what is the truth. It is Christ Himself. There is no other truth than that Jesus Christ is the Son of God—the only way to salvation, the only means of saving souls. You will preach Our Lord, Whom you have come to know in these years at the seminary. All your studies have been directed to knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Philosophy, theology, canon law, liturgy, the Fathers of the Church—all the studies you have pursued, whatever they have been, have been to help you know, love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ better.
You have prayed before the altar, prayed to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to share in His life, by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by Holy Communion. Now you have been chosen by Our Lord Himself, to pronounce the words of consecration. What a sublime and extraordinary power! This is the joy and consolation of your priestly life, the power of your priestly souls—to have power over the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. When you encounter suffering, when you have doubts, hesitations, trials—because perhaps your preaching does not bear the fruits you hoped for—look to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at His Cross, look at His Passion. He too suffered. He endured the desertion, the total abandonment of His disciples. He endured courageously, and God rewarded Him by raising Him up. He raised Him by the power of His divinity.
And then you will sanctify, particularly by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, source of all sanctification, continuation of the salvific sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Mass is, and this is why you are being ordained, to lead souls to Christ, to celebrate this sacrifice, to pour grace out in abundance to save souls. This is a great mystery, this power given to us, creatures that we are, to be able to speak to God, to bring God down on the altar—Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who is God.
And you will sanctify by all the sacraments. You will prepare souls to receive the sacraments worthily. You will not give Communion to those who are not worthy. You will prepare souls so that they may be worthy to be united to Our Lord Jesus Christ. By the sacrament of baptism, the sacrament of the Eucharist, by the sacrament of penance, by confirmation, by all the sacraments, prepare souls to sanctify themselves in the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep the Commandments, Commandments which are only the love of God and love of neighbor. What a beautiful vocation! To bring souls nearer to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to incorporate them into the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the mystical body of the Church, and to prepare them to share some day in the glory of God, in the glory of Our Lord.
And finally, you will guide souls in their anxieties, in their difficulties; in their darkness, you will be their light. Vos estis lux mundi. You are the light of the world. And so you will be light—in charity, in patience, in generosity, in gentleness. You will listen to souls who come to you to receive light. Do not reject them. Be patient. Be kindly. Be solicitous. Be fathers to your people. These souls who come to you will seem to be coming to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and will look for an answer for the good of their souls. So you will do good throughout your life.
You are about to separate and go to your assignments all over the world. May the Blessed Virgin Mary go with you. May she be your mother. May she nourish in you this unique, profound and all-sufficient love, with no more hesitations—this love of Our Lord Jesus Christ—as apostles of Christ.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.