A Diabolical Disorientation
For the past fifty years, the Church has been going through an unprecedented crisis. The confusion continues to grow and the best term used so far to describe the gravity of the situation is that of Pope Paul VI, who spoke of the “self-destruction of the Church,”1 that is, her destruction by the legitimately established authorities of the Holy Church of God. Archbishop Lefebvre spoke of “the masterstroke of Satan,” which consists in “the spread of the revolutionary principles introduced into the Church by the Church’s own authority”: “Satan has truly accomplished a masterstroke: he has managed to have those who keep the Catholic Faith condemned by the very men who should defend and propagate it.”2
It is very difficult to maintain in all circumstances a balanced judgment so as to stumble neither into heresy, be it modernist or liberal, nor into schism, be it theoretical (Sedevacantism) or practical (separation from the ecclesiastical authorities).
In order to do so, we believe it important to point out a dichotomy that was introduced from the very start of the Council.
Pope John XXIII, invoking the signs of the times, attributed a double goal to the conciliar assembly: on the one hand, a general reform of the Church (ad intra goal), and on the other hand, an openness to the world to put the Church to work for the unity of the human race (ad extra goal). The general reform of the Church was sullied by the spirit of adapting to the present times under the cover of an aggiornamento, in which pastoral care took over doctrinal teaching.
As for openness to the world, far from leading the world to adore the true God, it has lead the Church to place herself at the service of globalized humanity.
Let us start by saying that it is perfectly legitimate for a Council’s goal to be to launch a general reform of the Church and to reexamine its relations with earthly powers. The problem is that the reform was accomplished in keeping with the methods and values of the liberal world, and not with those of the Gospel and of the constant Magisterium of the Church. What is more, the living forces of the Church have been dissolved in the pursuit of secondary ends, and even ends that are foreign to her mission. Romano Amerio analyzed this point perfectly: “The Church seems to be afraid of being further rejected, as it already has been by a large part of the human race. Therefore, it sets about watering down its own characteristic set of values and playing up the things it has in common with the world: all the world’s causes are thus taken up by the Church. The Church offers its assistance to the world and is attempting to put itself at the head of human progress.”3
In their desire to satisfy the expectations and needs of the entire world, be it peace or security, material well-being or the climate, and more generally, the “coming of a happier era,”4 the men of the Church put her to work not for her sole Lord and Master, but for today’s world, a materialistic, consumeristic, pleasure-seeking, and apostate world, which it is illusory to try to evangelize without condemning its practices and corrupted morals, and its evil and deadly laws.5
That is what Archbishop Lefebvre meant when he wrote to Cardinal Seper, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, denouncing the destruction of the Church’s fighting spirit and calling liberal ecumenism a true “diabolical instrument for the auto-destruction of the Church.”6
Things would be much simpler if the hierarchy of ends was clearly established and respected: the Church’s mission is to lead men to heaven. She preaches the Gospel and the means of salvation to peoples and nations, societies, and institutions. She distributes the divine goods through the administration of the sacraments. She sanctifies souls and communities. As for her enemies, especially the false religions, the atheist powers, and the hostile powers or persecutors, she tolerates them, prays for their conversion, and knows how to stand up to them when need be.
But today, the Church wishes to dialogue with everyone, finds values she can share with even her worst enemies, and tirelessly pursues the double goal the Council assigned to her: to reform herself continuously and open herself to the world. The result of this permanent activity is that she is torn between remaining faithful to her evangelical mission, that which requires the transmission of the integral deposit of the Faith, and adapting to the indefinite progress of secularized societies. The Church’s position is constantly being adapted depending on her different interlocutors and the multiple and various human ends they pursue. The result is a general confusion: the revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ is reduced to the same rank as false doctrines and the most extravagant opinions. Archbishop Lefebvre saw this as a change of direction and a consequence of Modernism:
“More fascinated by the glory of the modern world than by the glory of God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, the members of the clergy have changed the direction of the ship in order to be welcomed by the modern world at all costs.
This is the mortal sin of Modernism: it abandons the requirements of the Faith, and even of reason, to enter into a world of ambiguities and ambivalence. It pulls away from dogma and truth and takes pleasure in what is undefined and confused, the vagueness of a language that is supposedly adapted to the modern world and that no longer wishes to define anything, allowing for all interpretations, and thus lets heresies, errors, and moral laxity run loose.”7
Thus is the divine cult defiled by an equivocal, Protestant-flavored rite; thus is the monarchical government of the Church jeopardized by democratic collegiality; and thus does indifferentism spread, favoring inter-religious meetings and manifestations. And henceforth, morality itself is shaken at the roots, as the pastoral approach constantly bypasses or adapts to the present conditions of modern life without God; no longer is it a true morality, that which doctrine—the teaching of Christ—has established and fixed for all time: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass, but My words shall not pass.’”8
Pope Francis is disconcerting in more than one respect. He seems to go in every different direction. But in so doing he remains logical and coherent with the Council. Yet the Council had come to be criticized and its ambitions revised downwards. Paul VI was besieged with doubts already at his time. John Paul II left a strong imprint, all the while letting his right hand man, Cardinal Ratzinger, denounce the false spirit of the Council9 that he saw as the origin of the “silent apostasy.” As for Benedict XVI, he wished to impose the hermeneutics of continuity10 in order to justify the conciliar reform, while denying any rupture with Tradition. He did not wish to look reality in the face, and sought to exonerate Vatican II from all responsibility for the “destruction of the liturgy” or the “crisis of the Faith” that he was right to denounce.
Pope Francis has none of these hesitations. Formed during the years of the Council, ordained a priest in 1969, he has known only the modern Church born of Vatican II. He does not waste time on the spirit and the letter of the Council, the hermeneutics of continuity, the “council of the media,”11 or a “para-Council.”12 He moves forward, seeking to incarnate in his acts the “freshness” of the message of Vatican II that is as topical, as living as ever. For that is precisely the heart of the matter: what makes the truth of a religion now is life.13
In the face of the conciliar revolution, Archbishop Lefebvre laid down a categorical refusal to all that could represent a danger for the Catholic Faith, the Catholic cult, and Catholic life. He pursued through thick and thin the work of restoration that Providence had entrusted to him: founding seminaries, opening priories and schools, supporting families, and encouraging many religious congregations.
In this gigantic battle, the founder of Econe never forgot that the Society was a branch of the Church, a part of a whole, of a whole of order. He always sought on the one hand to preserve his work from Modernism and the reforms that had emptied the churches, seminaries, and novitiates, and on the other hand to defend in the eyes of the Church’s highest authorities the soundness of his attitude and his indefectible attachment to the Holy See, to the person of the Vicar of Christ, and to his sublime function as pastor of the sheep and lambs of the flock. Thus, in a brochure entitled “Le coup de maître de Satan” (The Masterstroke of Satan), one can read the sermon given by Archbishop Lefebvre on September 18, 1977 for the 30th anniversary of his episcopal consecration. In it he explains “the three principal gifts God has given us: the pope, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Eucharistic Sacrifice.”14
It was the same thing ten years later when for the 40th anniversary of his episcopal consecration Archbishop Lefebvre reaffirmed both his refusal to apply the conciliar reforms along with his duty to maintain Tradition, and his hope of seeing the Society at long last supported by the pope, recognized as such and free to pursue its work of forming priests, sanctifying souls, and evangelizing peoples.15
Just as there is a strict right for the truly Catholic Mass to be celebrated and honored everywhere, in the same way the truly Catholic priesthood and all the formation leading to it have a strict right to be encouraged and honored everywhere. The same goes for the members of this society of priests, the Society of St. Pius X; because it is truly Catholic, it has a strict right to be recognized without ambivalence or ambiguity. And it is the same, too, for all the works of Tradition—monasteries, congregations, schools and missions—that everywhere show the vitality of Catholicism. That is the right Archbishop Lefebvre demanded of the Roman authorities: “We ask for something very simple and very legitimate: recognition that the Church of all time, the Church of our childhood, has the right to continue. It is a right based on Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium of the Church, and the whole history of the Church.”16
The prelate of Econe was profoundly a man of the Church, who suffered from the unjust suppression of the Society and from the censorships and condemnations to which he was subjected: “I have to admit that these persecutions have been harsh, severe, and continuous, not only from those in Rome, but also from all the bishops who have adhered to the Council, who have adhered to the novelties and who consequently can no longer tolerate Tradition to be continued in their churches.”17
He was also a magnanimous and inventive soul, prompt to propose solutions or possibilities for an agreement so long as it was for the good of Tradition, and favored the return of Rome and of the entire Church to the treasure Providence willed to entrust to her. Thus did he suggest that the experience of Tradition be tried in every diocese, for example, by allowing the traditional Mass everywhere.
On September 11, 1976, at Castel Gondolfo, Archbishop Lefebvre proposed to Pope Paul VI a modus vivendi, which he mentioned again in his letter to Archbishop Benelli on May 11, 1977: “I see no other profitable solution for peace and the good of souls than this one: ask bishops to be benevolent and tolerant towards the desire expressed by many faithful to have either a place of worship or a time allotted in a church for traditional ceremonies, to which they are profoundly attached because of the supernatural good that they procure for their souls and the souls of their children.” On December 24, 1978, he begged John Paul II “to say but a word, a single word, as Successor of Peter, as Pastor of the universal Church, to the bishops of the entire world. Let them be: We authorize the free exercise of what century-old Tradition used for the sanctification of souls. What difficulty would such an attitude present? None. The bishops would decide on the places and times reserved for this Tradition. Unity would immediately be found around the bishop of the place. But what benefits for the Church: the renewal of seminaries and monasteries; a great fervor in parishes. The bishops would be astounded to recover within a few years’ time a surge of devotion and sanctification that they thought lost forever.”
While he hoped a pope would reestablish order in the Church, he considered it his duty “to do everything possible to maintain the respect of the hierarchy,” all the while distinguishing “between the divine institution to which we must be very attached and the errors that evil shepherds can profess.” And he added: “We must do everything possible to enlighten them and convert them by our prayers and our example of gentleness and firmness. As our priories are founded, we will work to insert ourselves into the dioceses by our true priestly apostolate submitted to the successor of Peter, as successor of Peter and not as successor of Luther or Lamennais.”18
In 1985, faced with the general hostility encountered in the dioceses, Archbishop Lefebvre asked “that the official recognition that was ours from 1970 to 1975 be restored to us and that the pontifical right of the Society be recognized, as it is established in many dioceses throughout the world.”19 He sought to obtain a form of exemption,20 along the lines either of a prelature or of an ordinariate.
Archbishop Lefebvre explored the solution of a prelature as early as April 25, 1979, in a letter to John Paul II: “Would it not be possible to grant us the status that already exists for the nullius prelatures such as the Canons of St. Maurice in Switzerland, who have a bishop at their head, or the Mission of France, whose Superior is also a bishop?”21
He afterwards considered the solution of an ordinariate in the settlement proposal he sent Cardinal Gagnon on November 21, 1987. In his letter Archbishop Lefebvre wrote: “We willingly accept to be recognized by the pope as we are and to have a seat in the Eternal City, to collaborate in the renewal of the Church; we have never wished to break with the successor of Peter, nor to consider the Holy See as vacant, despite the trials this has cost us. We submit to you a project for reintegration and the normalization of our relations with Rome.”
While addressing these propositions to the Holy See, Archbishop Lefebvre fully measured the gravity of the crisis and, in the face of the growing disorder and general apostasy, he resigned himself to choosing successors to ensure the longevity of his work and the survival of Tradition. Wrongly judged, “operation survival” was anything but a seditious or revolutionary action. Faced with disorder, Archbishop Lefebvre brought order: he consecrated bishops. In so doing, he saved the Catholic priesthood, creating an indispensable condition for the Church to rise again and for all things to be restored in Jesus Christ.
The founder of Econe passed away on March 25, 1991, 25 years ago. Despite the prediction that Tradition would quickly disappear, the Society has pursued its activities and expanded slowly but steadily. Under the Superior General’s leadership, it has remained faithful to the balanced position it has always held. After Pope Paul VI wished to forbid the Mass of all time at the 1976 consistory, Pope Benedict XVI restored its freedom with his July 7, 2007 decree. After Archbishop Lefebvre was condemned, unjustly censured (suspens a divinis, excommunication), his successors, who had also been declared excommunicated, were relieved of this slanderous label on January 21, 2009. After Vatican II was, so to speak, sanctified, and its authority declared equal to that of the Council of Nicaea,22 some of its most emblematic statements and doctrines are now scarcely more than debatable opinions and open questions.23 Although the Vatican sought to take advantage of the 2009 doctrinal discussions to impose on the Society of St. Pius X a ground text and then a doctrinal preamble to make it submit to the teachings of the modern Magisterium, these discussions never once questioned whether the Society was Catholic. After their ministry was declared illegitimate in 2009, the pope recognized the full jurisdiction of the priests of this same Society to hear confessions during the Holy Year.24 This series of events proves Archbishop Lefebvre right in the long run. How could we not see in it the hand of God?
But we must not deceive ourselves. The conciliar revolution continues, and spreads its harmful influence on minds and hearts with every day that passes. The latest Apostolic Exhortation25 that sows confusion and risks causing the ruin of souls26 is proof of this. The authorities of the Church are still mostly won over to the Council and its reforms, but they no longer systematically condemn those who preserve Tradition.27 We cannot truly say they defend or propagate the Catholic Faith in its purity and integrity28—Satan’s masterstroke and the mystery of iniquity are still at work—but at least they no longer condemn those who keep the Faith and spread it and who denounce the modern errors and those propagating them. Such at least is the latest progress after the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X’s meeting with Pope Francis and especially with Archbishop Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The latter went so far as to admit that the Society can maintain its critical positions on the Council and expose them publicly.29
This new attitude can be explained by the extremely confused situation in which the Church finds herself and which some, among the most lucid in Rome, are finally acknowledging. Even if they are still timid, we cannot but agree with the analysis of Bishop de Galarreta, who rejoiced, last January, at hearing a few healthy reactions to the recent synod on the family: “Now we are starting to see reactions in the actual, official Church. And deep reactions, for some do realize that there is a doctrinal problem, a problem of faith. They realize that there is also a problem in the conciliar and post-conciliar magisterium. They are starting to ask questions and, this is very important, they understand that to oppose this complete rupture with Tradition, they have to react and necessarily oppose the authorities who diffuse these errors. So we see cardinals, bishops, priests, and laymen beginning to react, and in the right way, even in an excellent way, sometimes very firmly.”30
In this context, the eventuality of a canonical recognition of the Society, far from marking the triumph of Tradition or the end of the crisis, could be a sort of assistance to the Church in danger, threatened as she is by serious internal dangers.31
This question is whether this freedom granted to Tradition, a freedom under the form of a canonical recognition, the erection of a world-wide Prelature, would be beneficial for the Church herself. Would it be a bomb—a saving electric shock that would allow Tradition to take back her rights everywhere?—or a damp firecracker, a way of extinguishing Tradition’s fighting spirit by trying to stifle it? Faced with such an alternative, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X plans not to rush anything, but rather to weigh carefully all the ins and outs of the Roman propositions, with their practical consequences.
In the beginning of the summer of 2016, Bishop Fellay called together all the seminary and district superiors to consult, inform, and examine. Is Tradition solid and disciplined32 enough to continue the good fight of the Faith without disintegrating or becoming mired in the conciliar dynamics? Is it necessary, rather, to clear the path more thoroughly, and once armed with solid guarantees, advance resolutely in what would be a new and important step? The ultimate goal remains the return of Tradition, of the Catholic Faith and life, to the Church and the world today. For in any case, the canonical recognition of the Society of St. Pius X can never be an end in itself; it can only be a means in a long and difficult work of reconquering.
The Press release which Bishop Fellay delivered on June 29 at Ecône recalled the state of great confusion within the Church and the needs to return to the Catholic doctrine along with the denunciation of errors. We are living in “this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God in society as in the Church.” In this context, if the Society has the right to obtain a canonical recognition, since it is fully a Catholic work, its priority is “faithfully to bring forth the light of the bi-millennial Tradition, which shows the only route to follow.” For this is needed “the support of a pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition.” Prayer and penance are more than ever the order of the day “for the pope, so that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety.”33
Today, just like yesterday, the Society of St. Pius X and all the works of Tradition, living branches of the Church of all times, wish to work for the “restoration of all things in Christ,” without rallying to a conciliar Church with which they can never collaborate,34 and without a spirit of rebellion, bitterness, or resentment35 that would make them wander towards the slopes of schism or sectarianism.36 Allying doctrine and piety, it is through charity—in which we have believed37—that the Faith can triumph.
We began this study with Pope Paul VI’s analysis of the self-destruction of the Church in 1968. Four years later, on June 29, 1972, he tried to identify the cause: “Through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God. Satan has come to destroy and dry up the fruits of the Council.” This fissure is the rupture from Tradition,38 and this was accomplished by Vatican II, with the best intentions….in the world. On the contrary, “the restoration of the Church by her Tradition,” so “indispensable for the salvation of souls,” “can only be brought about through the extraordinary help of the Holy Ghost and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is by prayer and especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we shall obtain this renovation that we so ardently desire.”39
In this perspective, the apparitions of Fatima are of a burning pertinence. Bishop Fellay recently mentioned their message yet again.40 In the years that directly followed the Council, Sister Lucy wrote: “We must recite the rosary every day. Our Lady repeated that in all her apparitions, as if to arm us against these times of diabolical disorientation, so that we might not be deceived by false doctrines and that through prayer, the elevation of our soul to God might not diminish.”41
1 Paul VI, Speech to the Lombard Seminary, December 7, 1968: “The Church finds herself in an hour of worry, of self-criticism, on might even say of self-destruction. As if the Church were striking herself.” La Chiesa attraversa, oggi, un momento di inquietudine. Taluni si esercitano nell’autocritica, si direbbe perfino nell’autodemolizione.
2 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Le coup de maître de Satan, October 13, 1977, Editions Saint-Gabriel, Martigny 1977, p. 57.
3 Romano Amerio, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century, Ch. 32: Civilization and Secondary Christianity, Angelus Press, 2nd edition, 1996, p. 503. See also Fr. Alain Lorans, “Le regard de la foi et la leçon des faits”, XIth Theological Congress of Courrier de Rome, January 6, 20013, published in Nouvelles de Chrétienté, #139, p. 11.
4 John XXIII, Speech to the Federation of Catholic Universities, April 1, 1959, in La Documentation catholique, #1302, April 26, 1959, col. 515. See also Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, They Have Uncrowned Him, fourth part: “A Revolution in Tiara and Cope,” Angelus Press, 3rd edition, 1994.
5 There are many quotes from speeches by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI that illustrate this liberal benevolence towards “the world of these times” in the Acts of the 6th Theological Congress of Si si no no, Penser Vatican II quarante ans après, Courrier de Rome Publications, 2004, p. 13 to 44.
6 See annex, Archbishop Lefebvre’s letter to Cardinal Seper, dated April 13, 1978.
7 Archbishop Lefebvre, handwritten notes, quoted by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, “Vatican II, l’autorité d’un concile en question,” Vu de haut #13, Institut universitaire Saint-Pie X, 2006, p. 5.
8 Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33.
9 See Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, 1986.
10 See Benedict XVI, Speech to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005, on “the hermeneutics of reform in continuity.”
11 Benedict XVI, Speech at his meeting with the Roman clergy, February 14, 2013.
12 Archbishop Guido Pozzo, July 2, 2010, conference to the priests of the Society of St. Peter in Wigratzbad.
13 In the Modernist system, the truth is no longer defined as the conformity of the intelligence with reality, but as its conformity with life, or with any vital phenomenon. In the same way, faith is no longer the intelligence adhering to the revealed truth, but the translation of the manifestations of the religious sentiment. See St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, September 8, 1907, § 13 and 49.
14 The spiritual doctrine behind this attitude is exposed in his June 29, 1982 sermon, in which Archbishop Lefebvre compares the crisis of the Church to the passion of Christ. See Fr. Alain Lorans, “L’Eglise au risque de la crise,” in Nouvelles de Chrétienté, #130, p. 11 to 16; Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Marcel Lefebvre, The Biography, Angelus Press, 2004.
15 “If Rome really wants to give us true autonomy, like we have now but with our submission—we would like to be submitted to the Holy Father, and we have always wished for it—...if Rome agrees to let us try this experiment of Tradition, there will no longer be any problem.” Quoted by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, op. cit., p. 550. Archbishop Lefebvre asked to be allowed to try “the experiment of Tradition” as early as 1973. See Bp. Tissier, p. 475.
16 Letter from Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Seper, April 13, 1978.
17 Archbishop Lefebvre, Sermon in Zaitzkofen, February 26, 1983, Fideliter, #33, p. 42.
18 Answer to different topical questions, Econe, February 24, 1977, in Le coup de maître de Satan, op. cit., p. 48. Six years later, the founder of the Society of St. Pius X declared: “If I wished to sum up in a few words our line of conduct . . . , I would say that we have wished to be neither schismatic, nor heretic, but Catholic.” Sermon in Ecône, June 29, 1983, Fideliter, #34, p. 8.
19 Letter from Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger, April 17, 1985.
20 Without a real and complete exemption from the diocesan bishops, the majority of whom are won over to the new religion of Vatican II, we do not see how the future of Tradition could be guaranteed today. In this domain, history is the teacher of truth, as is shown by the example of the reform of Cluny, accomplished over 150 years, for which Pope Gregory V granted St. Odilo privileges adapted to the critical situation of the Church at the time: “Under pain of anathema, we decree that no bishop, no member of the priestly order, can enter your venerable convent to consecrate the church, ordain priests and deacons and celebrate Mass without having been invited by the abbot, and that your monks are permitted to receive Holy Orders wherever it shall please you (Odilo) or your successors.” A bull from Benedict VIII on April 1, 1016, confirmed the work of his predecessors Gregory V (998) and John XIX (1024), who had completely freed Cluny from episcopal supervision, as regarded both persons and goods.
21 Later, in 1985, the faithful of the Society were invited to sign a petition asking: “That the Priestly Society of St. Pius X be recognized in the Church as a society of pontifical right and personal prelature.” See Fideliter, #43, 1985, p. 17.
22 Letter from Paul VI to Archbishop Lefebvre, June 29, 1975: “the authority of the second Vatican Council (…) is no lesser, (it) is even in some aspects more important than that of Nicaea.”
23 See Archbishop Pozzo, interview with the newspaper La Croix on April 7, 2016: “The difficulties raised by the SSPX concerning the Church-State relationship and religious freedom, the practice of ecumenism and dialogue with non-Christian religions, certain aspects of the liturgical reform and its concrete application, remain subject to discussion and clarification but do not constitute an obstacle to a canonical and juridical recognition of the SSPX.” Up until now, submission to these Vatican II novelties had been the indispensable condition for a recognition of the Society of St. Pius X.
24 Letter from Pope Francis to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promulgation of the New Evangelization, September 1, 2015. This ordinary power to hear the faithful’s confessions is to be maintained after the Jubilee of Mercy, announced Pope Francis in an interview with Bishop Fellay on April 1, 2016, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
25 Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, March 19, 2016, published April 8, 2016.
26 By subtly granting access to Eucharistic communion for the divorced and remarried, Pope Francis goes against his predecessor Pope Soter, for example, who at the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius excluded persons in the state of grave sin from Holy Thursday communion.
27 Paradoxically, precisely because of the general confusion reigning today, some cardinals and bishops freely voice their disagreement with the direction of the present pontificate: Cardinal Müller, but also Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Brandmüller, Bishop Schneider, etc.
28 St. Pius X, Letter Notre Charge apostolique, August 25, 1910, introduction: “Our Apostolic Mandate requires from Us that We watch over the purity of the Faith and the integrity of Catholic discipline. It requires from Us that We protect the faithful from evil and error; especially so when evil and error are presented in dynamic language which, concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words, is likely to set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals which, whilst attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.”
29 See footnote 24. The Chapter General of the Society, held in Econe in July 2012, laid down as the first condition in the case of a canonical recognition the “freedom to keep, transmit and teach the healthy doctrine of the constant Magisterium of the Church and of the immutable truth of divine Tradition; freedom to defend, correct, reprimand even publicly those guilty of the errors or novelties of Modernism, liberalism, Vatican Council II and their consequences.”
30 Bishop de Galarreta, conference in Bailly on January 17, 2016, Nouvelles de Chrétienté, #158, p. 7.
31 When commenting on the pope’s decision to grant an ordinary jurisdiction to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X for the ministry of confession, Bishop Fellay used the following image: “When a fire is raging, everyone understands that those who have the means to do so must endeavor to put it out, especially if there is a shortage of firefighters. So it is that through all fifty years of this terrible crisis that has shaken the Church, particularly the tragic lack of confessors, our priests have devoted themselves to the souls of penitents, invoking the case of emergency foreseen by the Code of Canon Law. As a result of the Pope’s act, during the Holy Year, we will have ordinary jurisdiction. In the image I mentioned, this has the effect of giving us the official insignia of firefighters, whereas such a status was denied us for decades. In itself, it adds nothing new for the Society, its members, or its faithful. Yet this ordinary jurisdiction will perhaps reassure people who are uneasy or others who until now did not dare to approach us.” Bishop Fellay, Letter to Friends and Benefactors #85, November 21, 2015.
32 Another aspect of our revolutionary age is that everyone believes he himself is invested with the defense of the common good or of all of Tradition, be he a layman or cleric. The proliferation of articles, blogs, stances and various forms of one-upmanship that contaminate even the parish bulletins and pulpits is proof enough. It is obvious that no disunited or undisciplined army has ever won the slightest victory. In the dialectics between authority and truth, one must never lose sight of the fact that the authority is for the truth, and that in order to persuade the former of the rightness of the traditional reaction, one must not consider it as an enemy to be shot down, but as a superior to be convinced. A pope, even a bad pope, remains the Vicar of Christ on earth. And it is as such that he will have to answer to God.
33 Press Release of the Superior General DICI, 29 juin 2016.
34 By “conciliar Church” we mean the Church born of the Council, with all its novelties, its language, its practices, its rites and rules, in a word, the new religion of Vatican II, the ecclesial way of acting, the new way of practicing and understanding the Catholic religion. We do not mean another substance or another Church that would be a substitute for the true Church of Christ, in such a way that the pope would no longer be His vicar or that he would be governing something other than the Church founded on Peter of whom he is the successor. See Dominique Viain, “La Contre-Eglise: une terminologie commode mais ambigüe,” in Nouvelle revue Certitudes, October-November-December 2000, #4, p. 54-58.
35 See Archbishop Lefebvre, Declaration November 21, 1974, in Vu de haut, #13, 2006, p. 9-10.
36 Archbishop Lefebvre often denounced the pitfall that would consist in “becoming schismatic by abandoning our Holy Father the Pope and the hierarchy; those who act thus think that they themselves are the Church.” Sermon in Ecône, June 29, 1983, loc. cit., p. 8-9.
37 Credidimus caritati is the episcopal motto of Archbishop Lefebvre. See I John 4:16.
38 Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, op. cit. p. 468.
39 Archbishop Lefebvre, “La Tradition face à l’œcuménisme libéral,” Itinéraires #233, introduction, p. 7.
40 See Interview with DICI, March 4, 2016, in Nouvelles de Chrétienté, #158, p. 21-22. And interview with National Catholic Register, May 13, 2016, in DICI #336, p. 11: “You have a report of Father Fuentes, having talked with Sister Lucy, in which he gives a dramatic conference [saying it] might be really not necessarily all the message, or the secret, but the perception Sister Lucia has of this. And there she speaks of a diabolical disorientation, and of course that comes from the top. And I think we have that. It’s in front of us.”
41 Letter to Sr. Maria Teresa da Cunha, April 12, 1970, quoted by Br. Michel de la Sainte-Trinité, Toute la vérité sur Fatima, volume III, La Contre-Réforme Catholique, Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes, 1985, p. 509. Sr. Lucy spoke often of a “diabolical campaign” and of a “diabolical disorientation” when she described the situation of the world and the Church.
Satan never ceases to attack Our Lord in His Mystical Body: the Church. Throughout the course of History he has employed every means, the latest and most terrible being the official apostasy of the civil societies. The secularism of the States was and is an immense scandal for the souls of citizens. And by this means he has managed little by little to secularize many members of the Church and make them lose the Faith, so much so that the false principles of the separation of Church and State, religious liberty, political atheism, and authority as drawing its source from individuals have invaded the seminaries, presbyteries, bishoprics, and even Vatican Council II.
In order to do so, Satan invented key words that allowed the modern and modernist errors to penetrate the Council: “liberty” was introduced with Religious Liberty or Freedom of Religion, “equality” with Collegiality, which introduces the principles of democratic egalitarianism into the Church, and lastly “fraternity,” with Ecumenism that embraces all heresies and errors and reaches out to all the enemies of the Church.
Satan’s masterstroke is thus the spread of the revolutionary principles introduced into the Church by the Church’s own authority, placing this authority in a situation of permanent incoherency and contradiction; until this ambivalence is dissipated, the disasters will continue in the Church. As the liturgy becomes ambiguous, the priesthood does, too; as the catechism becomes ambiguous, the Faith, which can only be maintained in the Truth, evaporates. The very hierarchy of the Church lives in a permanent ambivalence between the personal authority received by the sacrament of Holy Orders and the Mission of Peter or the Bishop, and the democratic principles.
We have to admit that the trick has been well played and that Satan’s lie has worked marvelously. The Church is going to destroy herself out of obedience. The Church is going to convert to the heretic, Jewish, or pagan world out of obedience, through an equivocal liturgy, an ambiguous catechism full of omissions, and new institutions based on the democratic principles. (Archbishop Lefebvre, Le coup de maître de Satan, p. 5-6.)
The problem at the root of our perseverance in Tradition, in spite of orders from Rome to abandon it, is the grave and profound change in the relations of the Church with the world.
Our Lord and the Church after Him have related themselves to the world in a very precise way. The world has to be converted and baptized, and submit to the gentle Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the one and only way to salvation. “Go teach all nations…” that is clear. Apostles must be sent to all nations so that they become Catholics and accept the Reign of Our Lord.
But in the world there are forces at enmity with Our Lord and His Reign. Satan and all the auxiliaries of Satan, conscious and unconscious, refuse that Reign, that road to salvation, and they fight for the destruction of the Church.
Hence, the Church, with her divine Founder, is engaged in a gigantic struggle. All means have been and are being used by Satan for his triumph.
One of the latest and most effective stratagems is to destroy the fighting spirit of the Church by persuading her that she has no more enemies, so she must lay down her arms and enter into a dialogue of peace and understanding.
That sham truce will allow the enemy to penetrate everywhere with ease and to corrupt the opposing forces.
That truce is Liberal Ecumenism, a diabolical instrument for the auto-destruction of the Church.
That liberal Ecumenism will demand the neutralization of weapons, which are the Liturgy with the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, the Breviary, the liturgical feasts, and the neutralization and then the closing of Seminaries—there is no longer a need of fighters when there is no fight. Ecumenism in education means theological research—dogmas open to doubt.
It means also pluralism applied to Catholic States, so that they are suppressed and become Ecumenical States.
It means that the monasteries and the religious societies are stopped from fighting, they who were the vanguard. That amounts to a sentence of death.
To that devilish undertaking begun by the Council, especially in the Documents on “Non-Christian Religions” (Nostra Aetate), “the Church in the Modern World” (Gaudium et Spes), and “Religious Liberty” (Dignitatis humanae), and continued incessantly since the Council, we offer a flat refusal. We will not become Liberal Ecumenists, betraying the cause of the Reign of Our Lord and the cause of the Church: we wish to remain Catholics.
Who is the instigator of that false ecumenism in the Church? Who is (or who are) answerable for it? We prefer not to know. God knows.
They can lay us under as many interdicts and censures as they like, but we mean, with the grace of God and the help of the Blessed Virgin, to remain in the Catholic faith, and we refuse to collaborate in the destruction of the Church.
We ask for something very simple and very legitimate: recognition that the Church of all time, the Church of our childhood, has the right to continue. It is a right based on Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium of the Church, and the whole history of the Church.