July 2015 Print

The 1974 Declaration Forty Years Later

by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, SSPX


1. Titular Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, recently gave an interview about the relations between Rome and the SSPX.1 No-one can put himself above the supreme teaching authority of the Church [magisterium], he said; and since the teachings of the Second Vatican Council must be considered as those of the genuine Catholic supreme teaching authority, the Roman authorities cannot require less of the SSPX than does the 1989 Profession of Faith. The Profession of Faith, in effect, enounces submission in principle to the teachings of Vatican II according to the different degrees of assent indicated. Msgr. Pozzo is very clear: at the very most the Holy See is ready to grant to the SSPX that “the teachings of Vatican II have an extremely variable degree of authority and binding character, depending on the texts.” For example, “the declarations on religious liberty, non-Christian religions, and the decree on ecumenism, have a different and inferior degree of authority and binding character” than the Constitutions Lumen Gentium on the Church and Dei Verbum on Divine Revelation, which “have the character of a doctrinal declaration, even if they include no dogmatic definitions.” The nuances notwithstanding, it remains that the two types of documents are both authoritative and binding. The only concession made is the recognition of a mere difference in the degree of authority and of requisite assent. What conclusion may be drawn, if not that the Society ought to recognize, in varying degrees, the authority and binding character of all the specified documents. Now, this is precisely what is not acceptable. For it is precisely in the documents named that the Rome of neo-modernist tendencies is clearly manifest, the Rome that “we refuse and have always refused to follow,” whatever may be the degree of authority ascribed in vain to these texts.


2. In the eyes of Msgr. Pozzo, the funda­men­tal reason for which the authority and binding character of these teachings cannot not be called in question is that the present authority intends to impose them as being those of a real and proper magisterium. The very possibility of a breach between Vatican II and Tradition would be obviated because today’s authority asserts in principle the continuity between the teachings of Vatican II and Tradition. Ultimately, the argument at the basis of Msgr. Pozzo’s interview is taken from that of Benedict XVI, an argument according to which only the present authority may declare what is revealed and impose it as such. The magisterium of the past also depends on this authorization because it must be understood in light of what the present authority has to say about it: the latter has authority to preserve, guard, and interpret the former. That is why one may not contest the declarations of the present authority by relying upon those of the past. The presupposition of this approach is that only the living magisterium, magisterium in the true and proper sense of the term, is the one exercised by the current authorities.


3. The nature of the living magisterium, however, was clearly defined by Pope Pius XII: “...God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority [magisterium] to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church” [magisterium]. This is why “this sacred Office of Teacher [magisterium] in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith–Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition—to be preserved, guarded, and interpreted.”2 Therein lies a principle. A principle is an indemonstrable truth containing within itself its own justification. In this instance it amounts to saying that the nature of the ecclesiastical magisterium is such that its teaching must be taken as a whole or left. No-one can invent it or refashion it according to his own will, for it is God who has set its limits by His definitive Revelation. The role of the magisterium, or supreme teaching office of the Church, is limited to preserving, guarding, and interpreting the deposit of faith, that is to say, the ensemble of divinely revealed truths that have been consigned in the sources of Revelation which are Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition. It is said to be “living” by reason of the threefold activity it exercises in the service of the deposit of faith.


4. “Living” is in contradistinction to “dead.” The magisterium is said to be living in relation to Revelation which is said to be dead, just as an on-going activity is in comparison with one that has definitively ceased. In effect, Revelation came to a close with the death of the last of the Apostles, and these did not have successors in the prophetic office which was theirs in order to proclaim for the first time all the truths revealed by God. On the other hand, the Apostles must have successors in their teaching office, or magisterium, till the end of the world. The purpose of this function is to preserve, guard, and interpret the truths revealed by God. It merges with Tradition understood in the active sense of the term. It must be exercised as such, that is to say, as a continually living magisterium until the end of the world and at all times. The fact of being past or present is thus accidental to the living magisterium from the very fact that the temporal aspect is accidental to preserving, guarding, and interpreting Revelation. Past magisterium is no less living than present magisterium, for both give the authentic meaning of the truths of faith.


5. Consequently, the living magisterium is unique. Indeed, its unicity is not that of its subject, to wit, the one who exercises the supreme teaching office. From the standpoint of the subject, we should rather say that there have been, that there are, and that there will be in the Church as many ‘magisteria’ as popes and bishops in the Catholic Church from St. Peter and the Apostles until the end of the world. But this plurality is accidental to the magisterium, whereas its essential oneness flows from another standpoint, that of the object of its act. Whoever may be the subjects that exercise the magisterial office over the course of time, this function is always exercised to preserve, guard, and interpret the ensemble of the truths revealed by God precisely as having been revealed. One may certainly speak of unity and plurality in different senses. Numerically there are multiple subjects that successively exercise the magisterium, and for the same subject there are several successive acts of the magisterium. Numerically, there are multiple revealed truths proposed successively as revealed. This plurality is measured by time, in which case present magisterium can be distinguished from past magisterium, the one succeeding the other. But this standpoint of numerical plurality remains accidental to the magisterium, and it is essentially (or specifically) one and unique like its object: the object is the truth already revealed by God, and the magisterium has to preserve, guard, and interpret it always in the same meaning. From this viewpoint, there is no distinction between past and present magisterium because the former is as alive as the latter. There are not two magisteriums, one past and another present. There is only one magisterium, which is the magisterium of always.


6. The error contrary to the principle indicated by Pius XII would be to say that the magisterium, by definition unique, is the one taught today. The error consists in taking into account only the numerical oneness of the present holder of the supreme teaching office. Now, the magisterium is not defined in terms of its subject, and that is why it is not as such today’s, nor yesterday’s, nor tomorrow’s. It is that which is always, for it is defined in terms of its object, and its unicity is independent of the subject who speaks in the course of time.3 The error lying at the outset of what today’s churchmen for the last forty years have been holding forth consists in identifying the living magisterium [object], with the present magisterium [subject].4


7. This is precisely the error underlying Msgr. Pozzo’s interview. What shall we answer him, if not (for the umpteenth time over the last five years when the famous “doctrinal discussions” were inaugurated) to remind him of the principle clearly enounced by Pius XII in Humani Generis. We cannot subscribe to the teachings contained in Lumen Gentium (the “subsistit in” and collegiality), Dignitatis Humanae (religious liberty), and Unitatis Redintegratio (ecumenism) because these teachings contradict the sense of revealed truths already declared by the living magisterium of the Church. It is not because these teachings have come up today that they should outweigh those of yesterday. Nor is it because they benefit from the assurance of the authorities of the present hour that they should be considered to be in continuity with Tradition and that Catholics ought to refuse to see the rift perpetually inscribed between them. It is precisely because the magisterium is “the authentic tribunal that judges interpretations of Scripture and Tradition whencesoever they emanate” that we refuse to subscribe to the 1989 Profession of Faith. For this Profession of Faith has already been judged by the living magisterium of the Church, and it is obvious that it includes several interpretations of Scripture and Tradition that are incompatible with that which is given by the magisterium of always.


8. It is, therefore, because “we hold firmly with all our heart and with all our mind to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to the maintenance of this faith to the eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth” that “we refuse on the other hand, and have always refused, to follow the Rome of Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant tendencies, which became clearly manifest during the Second Vatican Council, and after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.” The defense of the Catholic faith is still the top priority. We do suffer from being separated for all practical purposes from the one who still is Mother and Mistress of all the churches. But our Mother and our Mistress is contagious. So long as the epidemic of which she is the source continues, we cannot take the risk of drinking from the same cup as she and of letting ourselves be contaminated by the germs that have more or less infected all the churches of “Catholicity.”


9. Msgr. Pozzo concludes his interview by saying that he cannot give “a precise idea yet of the time needed to reach the end of this path” of full reconciliation of the Holy See and the FSSPX, “with the clear goal of promoting unity in the charity of the universal Church guided by the successor of Peter.” For our part, we know quite well that this reconciliation cannot happen without there first being unity in the faith, the Catholic Faith to which the men who are currently leading the Church must return, having renounced spreading the errors of the Second Vatican Council. “It is because of our obedience to the Church that we are considered disobedient, since it is the others who have taken a new course in the Church, and who have instigated a new tendency in the Church, a liberal tendency....I deem that we are in the Church, and that we are those that are in the Church, and that we are the true sons of the Church, and that the others are not. They are not because liberalism does not belong to the Church. Liberalism is against the Church; liberalism is the destruction of the Church; in this sense, they cannot call themselves sons of the Church. We can call ourselves sons of the Church because we continue the doctrine of the Church, we maintain the whole truth of the Church integrally as the Church has always taught it.”5


10. The Declaration of November 21, 1974, hence is still relevant.

The Conciliar Impasse Forty Years Later

1. The discourse addressed by Rome to the FSSPX has remained substantially unchanged for forty years. Nonetheless it must be said that over time, the Holy See has seen itself more seriously obliged to respond to the arguments advanced by those who carry on the work of Archbishop Lefebvre. In this regard, Benedict XVI’s speech of December 22, 2005, was a milestone. The current considerations of Msgr. Pozzo are its perfect, and symptomatic, echo.


2. Until the end of his pontificate, Pope Paul VI was content to answer the objections of Archbishop Lefebvre by simply dismissing them on his own authority, even going so far as to present Vatican II as having “no less authority,” and as being “in certain respects...even more important than that of Nicaea.”6 Today this simplistic tautology prompts a wry smile, and, remarkably, even the current authorities scarcely take note of it. In fact, it was cruelly disavowed by the second successor of Paul VI, and this disavowal was all the more cutting in that it was undoubtedly less conscious. For soon after the episcopal consecrations of 1988, a surprising reflection started within the Roman Curia itself. In a conference held before the Chilean Episcopal Conference in 1988, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed himself about the Second Vatican Council, its nature and its reception in these terms: “Although it proclaimed no dogma and intended to present itself more modestly as a pastoral council, some hold up Vatican II as if it were, so to speak, a super-dogma that makes all the rest irrelevant.”7 If he does not repeat the literal expression “super-dogma,” the key discourse made by Benedict XVI eight months after his election reaffirmed the same observation and denounced what he called the “hermeneutic of rupture,” a “will to make the Council into a kind of constituent assembly that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one.”8


3. In the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of July 2, 1988, in which he excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre, John Paul II denounced without further explanation “an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition, incomplete, because it does not take sufficiently into account the living character of Tradition....”9 The response is still not an answer, because it is content to utter words whose definition in the mind of the one using them is hard to grasp. To say that such language does not have much consistency would be to resort to litotes. Here again, the successor of John Paul II will be obliged to acknowledge, albeit implicitly, that such an explanation is inadequate. It is moreover remarkable that the expression of John Paul II is not employed in the Christmas 2005 Address and Benedict XVI does not even attempt to explain in what precisely the living character of Tradition consists. For he even admits, “Indeed, a discontinuity had been revealed.” And if he asserts that “a continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned,” he also concedes: “It is easy to miss this fact at a glance.” In order to realize this continuity of principles, it was necessary to make “the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements.” We shall see later on what this entails; but let us note the fact that interests us here; for the first time since the Council closed, a pope felt obliged to answer the objections of Archbishop Lefebvre other than by arguments of authority and without resorting to stereotyped verbiage. One should also recognize that Benedict has the merit of authorizing for the first time a lucid and fair theological exchange between the representatives of the Society and of the Holy See. At the end of this exchange, the Vatican is obliged seriously to take into account what is clearly a serious reason.


4. This was already contained in the Declaration of November 21, 1974. The new fact is that it now has gotten the attention of an official representative of the Sovereign Pontiff and is the basis for the fundamental issues addressed in his speech.


5. Developing the presuppositions of the 2005 speech,10 Msgr. Pozzo distinguishes between what he calls maximalist and minimalist positions. The distinction is readily grasped: of those subscribing to a “hermeneutic of discontinuity,” the first group designates those who tend to make of Vatican II a “pastoral super-dogma” according to which pastoral practice would be the principle by reason of which it would be legitimate to relativize Traditional Catholic doctrine and dogma. The second term designates the attitude of the FSSPX, which separates the past magisterium, held to be doctrinal, from the present magisterium, held to be pastoral, thereby in fact introducing a division in the magisterium itself. Above these two excessive positions, the hermeneutic of renewal in continuity would represent the true solution, which moreover would fit in with the exact interpretation of the pastoral nature of the Council. To believe Msgr. Pozzo, who is only developing the thought of Benedict XVI, the doctrinal principles remain unchanged (albeit with the clarifications and the greater understanding owing to the homogeneous development of Catholic doctrine), but the pastoral applications are contingent because the historical situation in which the Christian message is embodied is itself contingent. The minimalist position claims that the principles have changed, while it is only their application in the pastoral context that has introduced the novelty. Therefore Vatican II could not be contested on the basis of this novelty. That is why, after the doctrinal discussions of 2009-2011, Benedict XVI had clearly announced his intention, which was to make the FSSPX accept all the acts of the magisterium after 1962: “ ...the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes....The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962—this must be quite clear to the Society.”11


6. Obviously, the Society has no desire to “freeze” the authority of the Church’s magisterium to one period of Church history, as do the Orthodox schismatics, who accept only the first seven ecumenical councils. They accept the entire magisterium as such. But the fact is that, on at least a certain number of points, which are clearly presented as principles, the teachings of Vatican II cannot be interpreted in conformity with other teachings already contained in earlier documents of the ecclesiastical magisterium. To be sure, pastoral applications are contingent. Prudence takes circumstances into account. Pastoral practice can and ought to find a renewed application of the same principles. It is not over this point that we contest Msgr. Pozzo’s response. It is rather when he tells us that in Vatican II, principles remain unchanged, or, if change is observable, it consists in expressing in more explicit terms the same meaning of the same truth. A reasonably attentive examination of the texts proves that, to the contrary, the social doctrine of the Church has undergone a veritable Copernican revolution and that, far from being a case of homogeneous development of doctrine, the perplexed Catholic is the spectator of a profound alteration and an unprecedented obscuration of the principal truths of the Faith as well as the introduction of liberal principles in the Church.

The response of the 2005 Christmas speech consists in saying that the application of the same principles has changed because the context has changed. In reality, it is the principles themselves that have been changed. The dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, the decree Unitatis Redintegratio, and the declaration Nostra Aetate give to the relation between the Catholic religion and other religions a different definition from that taught by the Syllabus of Errors, Satis Cognitum, and Mortalium Animos. Instead of condemning the principle that the non-Catholic religions have a certain value for eternal salvation as did previous popes, Vatican II adopts it.12 The declaration Dignitatis Humanae and the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes give to the relation between the Church and the modern State a different definition from the one taught by Quanta Cura and Quas Primas. Instead of condemning the principle of religious liberty and the indifferentism of the State as did Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius XI, Vatican II adopts it.13

Moreover, even if Vatican II deviates from Tradition only on certain points, the other points on which it remains in conformity with it do not suffice to make this Council acceptable. Malum ex quocumque defectu: a few bad passages suffice to make the Council bad, for the mere presence of good passages does not make the bad ones acceptable. Indeed the presence of traditional teaching side by side with novelties contrary to tradition would prove moreover that there are contradictions in the Council: which is a supplemental motive not to accept it. In any case, most of the conciliar reforms, if not all, are not based on the good texts of the Council, but on those that cause a problem from the fact that they deviate from Tradition.


7. The foregoing has been explained over and over. The point we’d like to focus on is the following: Msgr. Pozzo objects that our attitude, which he describes as minimalist, leaves unanswered the question of the authority that can decide whether the current teaching of the Church’s supreme teaching authority [magisterium] is coherent with its past teaching. In other words: what authority is to judge decisively the continuity of the (present) living magisterium with the past magisterium, not only from the point of view of the subject, but also from the point of view of the object, namely, the res de fide et moribus? According to the secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” the answer of the doctrine of the Church on this subject has always been the same: it is up to the magisterium and to it alone to judge the authentic interpretation (that is, exercised with the authority of Christ) of the word of God written or transmitted.


8. This is the decisive point, for the issue it introduces is radically skewed. The way the question is framed already dictates the way to answer it. Msgr. Pozzo starts from the principle that it is a question of establishing coherence between the current teaching of the magisterium and its previous teaching, or between the living magisterium, which is the present magisterium, and past magisterium. In his mind, there is then a single living magisterium, which is the present magisterium. Only this [teaching authority] is in a position to establish the coherence of its own teachings with past teachings. And so only this present magisterium would be authorized to give the authentic interpretation of the word of God written or relayed, that is, revealed truth. Here we find the initial error, already brought to light. It does not introduce duality into the magisterium. It maintains that the living magisterium is unique, but that it involves only the present magisterium.


9. As Pius XII taught in Humani Generis, the supreme teaching authority [magisterium] is exercised in order “to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly,” and not for the clarification of its own teachings. Pius XII carefully distinguishes between the teaching of the magisterium and the deposit of faith: “This sacred Office of Teacher [magisterium] in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith—Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition—to be preserved, guarded, and interpreted....God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church.” 14 As such, the Teaching Authority [magisterium] interprets and clarifies divinely revealed truths; the fact of being present or past is accidental to the fact of the interpretation or clarification of these truths. Whether it is past or present, the Teaching Authority [magisterium] is defined by its acts as the permanently authorized teaching of the same revealed truths. It always remains “living.”


10. The living magisterium has as its object to interpret and to clarify certain revealed truths, and not all, depending on whether it is past or present. For the Teaching Authority [magisterium] as present only has for its object the interpretation and clarification of those revealed truths not yet addressed by the past Teaching Authority. For example, the teachings of the First Council of Nicaea bore upon the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Second Council of Nicaea addressed a different point of Trinitarian doctrine not addressed by the first, relative to the Third Divine Person. In such wise, the activity of the Teaching Authority progressively clarifies and interprets the deposit of revelation by successively bringing its attention to bear on each of the revealed truths, one after the other, but each of its clarifications is definitive and does not call for a subsequently new interpretation. It remains forever an act of the living magisterium, which is timeless. A posterior act of the magisterium cites an earlier act of the magisterium in order to support its statements precisely because it is an act of the living Teaching Authority [magisterium], and in order to draw the attention of the faithful to a truth that has been clearly and adequately proposed but upon which it is necessary to insist once again because of circumstances. For example, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome has been the object of several successive propositions by the living Teaching Authority: the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 870, the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, the Council of Florence in 1439, and the First Vatican Council in 1870. When the Constitution Pastor Aeternus cites the Councils of Constantinople, Lyons, and Florence, it simply involves noting the constant and unanimous Tradition of the living magisterium and not the establishment of an apparently problematic coherence between the two.


11. To escape the error introduced by Msgr. Pozzo, it suffices to reject the false principle in which it is rooted. The question is not and cannot be how to establish coherence or continuity between present and past teachings of the Teaching Authority and to choose who has the authority to make this judgment. The unique living magisterium is the rule that makes us know revealed truth at all times. When the present Teaching Authority [magisterium] clarifies a truth heretofore obscure, it goes without saying. But when a present teaching obviously contradicts an interpretation already made by the Teaching Authority [magisterium], or if it obscures a clarification made by the same [Teaching Authority], then this teaching, while it may be present, cannot lay claim to the authority of the living magisterium, even if it emanated from an ecumenical council.


12. If, as is obvious, Vatican II contradicts the magisterium, Vatican II does not belong to the magisterium. Now, it contradicts the magisterium in Art. 2 of Dignitatis Humanae, Art. 3 of Unitatis Redintegratio, and Arts. 8 and 22 of Lumen Gentium. And if on other points Vatican II is not clear, it is useless to take Vatican II as a criterion, since the teachings of the earlier magisterium, which are already clarifying and thus clear by themselves, cannot be clarified by relying upon equivocal teachings. “The impreciseness of the Council,” it has been justly remarked, “is admitted even by theologians most faithful to the Holy See, who go to great lengths to exculpate the Council. Now, it is clear that a felt need to defend the univocal character of Council teaching is already an indication of its lack thereof.”15 For example, the question of religious freedom was clearly and definitively propounded by the pontifical magisterium, from Gregory XVI to Pious XII: all these popes condemned the civil right not to be restrained from the public profession and practice of an objectively false religion, specifying that their condemnation bears upon the right as such, whether limited or not. Dignitatis Humanae affirms this right “within due limits” without specifying the nature of these limits. Not only does Vatican II contradict on this point the teachings of the earlier magisterium, but it also maintains a deliberate equivocation and clarifies nothing. Another good example of obscuration is to be found in Art. 10 of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium. This passage evokes the existence of a “priesthood” proper to the baptized as such, distinct from the priesthood proper to ministers endowed with the sacramental character of order. And it gives the explanation: “Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated. Each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.” Pius XII had already spoken (only once, it is true) of the “common priesthood,” but in terms otherwise clear and precise than those of Vatican II. If one may speak of a certain “priesthood” of the faithful, this expression amounts to a merely honorific title, and there is an essential difference between the reality of this interior, hidden (spiritual) priesthood on the one hand and the priesthood truly and properly so-called.16 This last precision has completely disappeared from Lumen Gentium 10: the common priesthood is presented as essentially different from ministerial priesthood, but the difference is no longer designated as that which exists between a spiritual priesthood and a priesthood “truly and properly so-called.” This omission goes against the teaching of Pius XII insofar as it authorizes the definition of the common priesthood of the faithful as a priesthood in the proper sense of the term. The speech of Pius XII had explained and clarified the point, while Lumen Gentium renders it obscure and ambiguous.


13. This example alone (and it is not unique) suffices to belie Msgr. Pozzo’s explication. No, it is not true that in the texts of Vatican II “the doctrinal principles remain unchanged, although with the clarifications and insight due to the homogeneous development of Catholic doctrine.” Article 10 of Lumen Gentium represents neither an explication nor development. This text quite simply makes the teaching of Pius XII disappear and introduces an ambiguity fatal to Catholic doctrine, where the “living magisterium” of the previous pope had taken every precaution to obviate the risk of error. In reality it should be said that this passage of Lumen Gentium represents a veritable regression, and that it is not faithful to the teaching of the magisterium. As much could be said about the other problematic passages already mentioned. Regardless of what Msgr. Pozzo says, it must be admitted that till now, no explanation has succeeded in establishing convincingly the conformity of Vatican II with the living magisterium of the Church. The Christmas Speech of 2005 in this domain represents another failure. The prose of the secretary of the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission only aggravates it.


14. This is why Archbishop Lefebvre’s Declaration of November 21, 1974, retains its importance. It finds its confirmation in another, more recent declaration by which the successors of Archbishop Lefebvre intended to reaffirm the principles that are the foundation of their attitude:

“The Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it. We find our sure guide in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its teaching authority, transmits the revealed Deposit of Faith in perfect harmony with the truths that the entire Church has professed, always and everywhere. The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of time the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities.”17


Translation of “40 ans plus tard” and “40 ans passés autour du concile,” Courrier de Rome, December 2015, pp. 3-7.

1 Jean Dumont, interview with Msgr. Guido Pozzo, Famille Chrétienne, October 20, 2014 [English version: sspx.org/en/news-events/news/no-capitulation-what-unity-pozzo-interview-5434].

2 Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, “Some False Opinions that Threaten to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine,” August 12, 1950, Dz. 2314 [English version: vatican.va; cf. The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 640-1].

3 Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference of April 10, 1982, in Vu du Haut, No. 13, Ch. 18, pp. 55-6.

4 For further elucidation of this point, cf. Courrier de Rome, October 2014, Nos. 3-6.

5 Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Conference at Ecône, December 21, 1984 (Cospec 112).

6 Letter of Paul VI to Archbishop Lefebvre, June 29, 1975, quoted by Michael Davis in Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre, Vol. I, Ch. 7.

7 Joseph Ratzinger, “Unità nella Tradizione della fede,” Allocution to the Bishops of Chile, Cuaderno Humanitas (Santiago), No. 20, December 2008, p. 38.

8 Benedict XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005.

9 John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, No. 4.

10 We are referencing the lecture given on Friday, April 4, 2014, to the Institute of the Good Shepherd and published on the Web site Catholicae Disputationes.

11 Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops on the Lifting of the Excommunications of the Four SSPX Bishops, March 10, 2009.

12 Cf. the Courrier de Rome issues of September and December 2010 and December 2012.

13 Despite what Msgr. Pozzo asserts in the first part of his lecture. Cf. the July-August 2008, June 2011, December 2012, and March and October 2014 issues of Courrier de Rome.

14 Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, “Some False Opinions that Threaten to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine,” August 12, 1950, Dz. 2314 [English version: vatican.va; cf. The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 640-1].

16 Romano Amerio, Iota Unum (Nouvelles Editions Latine, 1987), p. 91.

16 Pius XII, Speech of November 2, 1954, in AAS, 1954, p. 669: “Quaecumque est hujus honorifici tituli et rei vera plenaque significatio, firmiter tenendum est commune hoc omnium christifidelium, altum utique et arcanum, sacerdotium, non gradu tantum sed etiam essentia differre a sacerdotio proprie vereque dicto quod positum est in potestate perpetrandi, cum persona Summi Sacerdotis Christi geratur, ipsius Christi sacrificium.”

17 Statement of the General Chapter of the FSSPX, July 14, 2012, online at DICI.org.