American Friends & Benefactors
From Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
28 April, 1983
What was latent
for many years in the relations between most of the priests of
the North-East District and the Society of Saint Pius X, and
was the object of continual difficulties, has just come out into
the open by the support given by these priests to the refusal of
the Society’s liturgy by one of the three young priests I ordained
at Oyster Bay Cove on November 3, 1982.
long-standing disagreement with myself and the Society has
now become public rebellion. It is the result of an extremist way
of thinking and a tendency to schism in the domain of the liturgy,
the papacy, and the sacraments of the reform.
the liturgy which has always been used in the Society and consider
it evil, the liturgy of Pope Pius XII, signed by Pope John XXIII,
and so, the liturgy preceding the Council. They think and behave
as if there is no Pope, suppressing all prayers for the Pope. In
practice, they tend to hold almost all the sacraments of the new
rites to be invalid.
is not the attitude of the Society.
The basic principle
of the Society’s thinking and action in the painful crisis the Church
is going through is the principle taught by St. Thomas Aquinas
in the Summa Theologica (II, II, q. 33, a.4). That
one may not oppose the authority of the Church except in the case
of imminent danger to the Faith. Now, there is no danger for the
Faith in the liturgy of Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII, whereas
there is great danger for the Faith in the liturgy of Pope Paul
VI, which is unacceptable.
acts on the assumption that Pope John Paul II is Pope and so prays
for him and strives to bring him back to Tradition by praying for
him, by meeting with those around him, and by writing to him.
does not say that all the sacraments according to the new post-conciliar
rites are invalid, but that due to bad translations, the lack of
proper intention, and the changes introduced in the matter and form,
the number of invalid and doubtful sacraments is increasing. In
order, then, to reach a decision in the practical order concerning
the doubtfulness or invalidity of sacraments given by priests imbued
with the ideas of the Council, a serious study of the various circumstances
Many of you
know the difficulties to which the attitude of these priests has
given rise. Many of you have suffered from it and so will not be
surprised by this clarification of the situation.
We regret not
being able to come immediately to the assistance of those who wish
to stay with the Society, but we will heed the requests of the faithful
and, with the grace of God, we will come to your aid and we will
keep you united to Rome and to the Church of all time.
Father Kelly is no longer District Superior; Father Cekada is no
longer District Bursar; Father Sanborn is no longer Rector of the
Seminary. These priests, and the priests who follow them, and any
seminarians who might follow them, are no longer members of the
Society of Saint Pius X, as of 27 April 1983. They no longer have
any power, nor hold any office in the Society’s name.
if you have any inquiries concerning the Society in the North-East
District, contact, at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield,
Father Richard Williamson, who has been provisionally nominated
District Superior, or Father Roger Petit, who has been nominated
Most of the
seminarians are remaining with us and we shall, God willing, proceed
with ordinations in the first days of November.
We count on
your prayers so that we can carry on the work of the Society in
the North-East District and especially at the Seminary henceforth
entrusted to Father Richard Williamson. We ask you to continue
to help us so that we can continue building up the traditional Catholic
Church in America. Please pray for the 24 new priests I am going
to ordain on June 29th.
May God bless
you through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
† Marcel Lefebvre,
of the Society of Saint Pius X
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109