full text of the sermon follows. During the sermon the Archbishop
refers to the arrival, the day before, of a representative of
the Vatican who had placed a new Missal into his hands and promised
all the difficulties between the Archbishop and the Vatican would
be straightened out if he would use this Missal the next day.
This emissary was the Senegalese Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum
who had been ordained a priest and consecrated as a bishop by
Mgr. Lefebvre. The Cardinal's interview with the Archbishop lasted
until the early hours of the morning of 29 June and in consequence
Mgr. Lefebvre had very little rest before the arduous ceremonies
which faced him on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
is of some significance that despite all the invective it had
poured upon the Archbishop and his Seminary, the Vatican was prepared
to normalize relations at the price of the Archbishop's celebrating
just one New Mass.
delivered by Archbishop Lefebvre at the Ordination of thirteen
priests and thirteen sub-deacons on the Feast of Saints Peter
and Paul, 1976
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
dear friends, dear confreres, dear brethren…who have come from
every country, from all horizons: It is a joy for us to welcome
you and to feel you so close to us at this moment so important
for our Fraternity and also for the Church. I think that, if the
pilgrims have permitted themselves to make this sacrifice, to
journey day and night, to come from distant regions to participate
in this ceremony, it is because they had the conviction that they
were coming to participate in a ceremony of the Church, to participate
in a ceremony which would fill their hearts with joy, because
they will now have the certitude in returning to their homes that
the Catholic Church continues.
I know well that the difficulties are numerous in this undertaking
which we have been told is foolhardy. They say that we are in
a deadlock. Why? Because from Rome have come to us, especially
in the last three months, since 19 March in particular, the Feast
of Saint Joseph, demands, supplications, orders, and threats to
inform us that we must cease our activity , to inform us that
we must not perform these ordinations to the priesthood. They
have been pressing these last few days. In the last twelve days
in particular, we have not ceased to receive messages and envoys
from Rome enjoining us to refrain from performing these ordinations.
if in all objectivity we seek the true motive animating those
who ask us not to perform these ordinations, if we look for the
hidden motive, it is because we are ordaining these priests that
they may say the Mass of all time.1
It is because they know that these priests will be faithful to
the Mass of the Church, to the Mass of Tradition, to the Mass
of all time, that they urge us not to ordain them.
proof of this, consider that six times in the last three weeks-six
times-we have been asked to re-establish normal relations with
Rome and to give as proof the acceptance of the new rite; and
I have been asked to celebrate it myself. They have gone so far
as to send me someone who offered to concelebrate with me in the
new rite so as to manifest that I accepted voluntarily this new
liturgy, saying that in this way all would be straightened out
between us and Rome. They put a new Missal into my hands, saying
"Here is the Mass that you must celebrate and that you shall
celebrate henceforth in all your houses." They told me as
well that if on this date, today, this 29th of June, before your
entire assembly, we celebrated a Mass according to the new rite,
all would be straightened out henceforth between ourselves and
Rome. Thus it is clear, it is evidence that it is on the
problem of the Mass that the whole drama between Econe
and Rome depends.
we wrong in obstinately wanting to keep the rite of all time?
We have, of course, prayed, we have consulted, we have reflected,
we have meditated to discover if it is not indeed we who are in
error, or if we do not really have a sufficient reason not to
submit ourselves to the new rite. And in fact, the very insistence
of those who were sent from Rome to ask us to change rite makes
we have the precise conviction that this new rite of Mass expresses
a new faith, a faith which is not ours, a faith which is
not the Catholic Faith. This New Mass is a symbol, is an expression,
is an image of a new faith, of a Modernist faith. For if
the most holy Church has wished to guard throughout the centuries
this precious treasure which She has given us of the rite of Holy
Mass which was canonized by Saint Pius V, it has not been without
purpose. It is because this Mass contains our whole faith,
the whole Catholic Faith: faith in the Most Holy Trinity,
faith in the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, faith in the Redemption
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, faith in the Blood of Our Lord Jesus
Christ which flowed for the redemption of our sins, faith in supernatural
grace, which comes to us from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
which comes to us from the Cross, which comes to us through all
is what we believe. This is what we believe in celebrating the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of all time. It is a lesson of faith
and at the same time a source of our faith, indispensable
for us in this age when our faith is attacked from all sides.
We have need of this true Mass, of this Mass of all time
of this Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ really to fill our
souls with the Holy Ghost and with the strength of Our Lord Jesus
it is evident that the new rite, if I may say so, supposes another
conception of the Catholic religion-another religion. It is no
longer the priest who offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it
is the assembly. Now this is an entire program -an entire program.
Henceforth it is the assembly also that replaces authority in
the Church. It is the assembly of bishops that replaces the power
of (individual) bishops. It is the priests' council that replaces
the power of the bishop in the diocese. It is numbers that command
from now on in the Holy Church. And this is expressed in the Mass
precisely because the assembly replaces the priest, to such a
point that now many priests no longer want to celebrate Holy Mass
when there is no assembly. Slowly but surely the Protestant notion
of the Mass is being introduced into the Holy Church. 2
this is consistent with the mentality of modern man- absolutely
consistent. For it is the democratic ideal which is the fundamental
idea of modem man, that is to say, that the power lies with the
assembly, that authority is
in the people, in the masses, and not in God. And this is most
grave. Because we believe that God is all-powerful; we believe
that God has all authority; we believe that all authority comes
from God. "Omnis potestas a Deo." All
authority comes from God. We do not believe that authority comes
from below. Now that is the mentality of modern man.
the New Mass is not less than the expression of this idea that
authority is at the base, and no longer in God. This Mass is no
longer a hierarchical Mass; it is a democratic Mass. And this
is most grave. It is the expression of a whole new ideology.
The ideology of modern man has been brought into our most sacred
this is what is at present corrupting the entire Church. For by
this idea of power bestowed on the lower rank, in the Holy Mass,
they have destroyed the priesthood! They are destroying the priesthood,
for what is the priest, if the priest no longer has a personal
power, that power which is given to him by his ordination, as
these future priests are going to receive it in a moment? They
are going to receive a character, a character which will put them
above the people of God! Nevermore shall they be able to
say after the ceremony about to be performed, they shall never
be able to say, "We are men like other men." This would
not be true.
will no longer be men like other men! They will be men of God.
They will be men, I should say, who almost participate in the
divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ by His sacerdotal character.
For Our Lord Jesus Christ is Priest for eternity, Priest according
to the Order of Melchisedech, because He is Jesus Christ; because
the divinity of the Word of God was infused into the humanity
which He assumed. And it is at the moment that He assumed this
humanity in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus
grace in which these young priests are going to participate is
not the sanctifying grace in which Our Lord Jesus Christ gives
us to participate by the grace of baptism; it is the grace of
union-that grace of union unique to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is in this grace that they are going to participate, for it
is by His grace of union with the divinity of God, with the divinity
of the Word, that Our Lord Jesus Christ became Priest; that Our
Lord Jesus Christ is King; that Our Lord Jesus Christ is Judge;
that Our Lord Jesus Christ ought to be adored by all men: by His
grace of union, sublime grace! grace which no being here below
could ever receive-this grace of the divinity itself descending
into a humanity which is Our Lord Jesus Christ, anointing Him,
after a fashion, like the oil that descends on the head and consecrates
him who receives this oil. The humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
was penetrated by the divinity of the Word of God, and thus He
was made Priest. He was made Mediator between God and men.
is in this very grace, which will place them above the people
of God, that these priests are going to participate. They too
will be the intermediaries between God and God's people. They
will not merely be the representatives of the people of God; they
will not be the functionaries of the people of God; they will
not merely be 'presidents of the assembly.' They are priests for
eternity, marked by this character for eternity, and no one has
the right not to respect them; even if they themselves did not
respect this character-they have it always in themselves, they
will always have it in themselves.
is what we believe, this is our faith, and this is what constitutes
our Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the priest who offers
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and the faithful participate
in this offering, with all their heart, with all their soul, but
it is not they who offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As proof,
consider that the priest, when he is alone, offers the Holy' Sacrifice
of the Mass in the same manner and with the same value as if there
were a thousand people around him. His sacrifice has an infinite
value: the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ offered by the priest
has an infinite value.
is what we believe. This is why we think that we cannot accept
the new rite, which is the work of another ideology, or
a new ideology .They thought that they would attract the world
by accepting the ideas of the world. They thought they would attract
to the Church those who do not believe by accepting the ideas
of these persons who do not believe, by
accepting the ideas of modern man-this modern man who is a Liberal,
who is a Liberal, who is a Modernist; who is a man who accepts
the plurality of religions, who no longer accepts the social Kingship
of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This I have heard twice from the envoys
of the Holy See, who told me that the social Kingship of Our Lord
Jesus Christ was no longer possible in our time; that we must
accept definitely the pluralism of religions. That is what they
told me. That the Encyclical Quas Primas, which is so beautiful,
on the social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was written
by Pope Pius XI, would never be written today by the Pope. This
is what they said to me-the official envoys of the Holy See.
we are not of this religion. We do not accept this new religion.
We are of the religion of all time; we are of the Catholic religion.
We are not of this 'universal religion' as they call it today-this
is not the Catholic religion any more. We are not of this Liberal,
Modernist religion which has its own worship, its own priests,
its own faith, its own catechisms, its own Bible, the 'ecumenical
Bible'-these things we do not accept. We do not accept the 'ecumenical
Bible.' There is no 'ecumenical Bible.' There is only the Bible
of God, the Bible of the Holy Ghost, written under the influence
of the Holy Ghost. It is the Word of God. We do not have the right
to mix it with the words of men. There is no 'ecumenical Bible'
which could possibly exist. There is only one Word - the Word
of the Holy Ghost. We do not accept the catechisms which no longer
uphold our Creed. And so on and so forth.
cannot accept these things. They are contrary to our Faith. We
regret infinitely, it is an immense, immense pain for us, to think
that we are in difficulty with Rome because of our faith!
How is this possible? It is something that exceeds the imagination,
that we should never have been able to imagine, that we should
never have been able to believe, especially in our childhood-then
when all was uniform, when the whole Church believed in Her general
unity, and held the same Faith, the same Sacraments, the same
Sacrifice of the Mass, the same catechism. And behold, suddenly
all is in division, in chaos.
said as much to those who came from Rome. I said so: Christians
are torn apart in their families, in their homes, among their
children; they are torn apart in their hearts by this division
in the Church, by this new religion now being taught and practiced.
Priests are dying prematurely, torn apart in their hearts and
in their souls at the thought that they no longer know what to
do: either to submit to obedience and lose, in a way, the faith
of their childhood and of their youth, and renounce the promises
which they made at the time of their ordination in taking the
anti-Modernist oath; or to have the impression of separating themselves
from him who is our father, the Pope, from him who is the representative
of Saint Peter. What agony for these priests! Many priests have
died prematurely of grief. Priests are now hounded from their
churches, persecuted, because they say the Mass of all time.
are in a truly dramatic situation. We have to choose between an
appearance, I should say, of disobedience-for the Holy Father
cannot ask us to abandon our faith. It is impossible, impossible-the
abandonment of our faith. We choose not to abandon our faith,
for in that we cannot go wrong. In that which the Catholic Church
has taught for two thousand years, the Church cannot be
in error. It is absolutely impossible, and that is why we are
attached to this tradition which is expressed in such an admirable
and definitive manner, as Pope Saint Pius V said so well, in a
definitive manner in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
perhaps, in the newspapers, will appear our condemnation. It is
quite possible, because of these ordinations today. I myself shall
probably be struck by suspension. These young priests will be
struck by an irregularity which in theory should prevent them
from saying Holy Mass. It is possible. Well, I appeal to Saint
Pius V-Saint Pius V, who in his Bull said that, in perpetuity,
no priest could incur a censure, whatever it might be, in perpetuity,
for saying this Mass. And consequently, this censure, this excommunication,
if there was one, these censures, if there are any, are absolutely
invalid, contrary to that which Saint Pius V established in
perpetuity in his Bull: that never in any age could one
inflict a censure on a priest who says this Holy Mass.
Because this Mass is canonized.3
it definitively. Now a Pope cannot remove a canonization. The
Pope can make a new rite, but he cannot remove a canonization.
He cannot forbid a Mass that is canonized. Thus, if he has canonized
a Saint, another Pope cannot come and say that this Saint is no
canonized. That is not possible. Now this Holy Mass was canonized
by Pope Saint Pius V. And that is why we can say it in all tranquillity,
in all security, and even be certain that, in saying this Mass,
we are professing our faith, we are upholding our faith, we are
upholding the faith of the Catholic people. This is, indeed, the
best manner of upholding it.
that is why we are going to proceed in a few moments with these
ordinations. Certainly we should desire to have a blessing as
was given in the past by the Holy See - a benediction came from
Rome for the newly-ordained. But we believe that God is here present,
that He sees all things, and that He also blesses this ceremony
which we are performing; and that one day He will certainly draw
from it the fruits which He desires, and will aid us in any case,
to maintain our Faith and to serve the Church.
ask this especially of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saints
Peter and Paul today. Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin, who
is the Mother of the Priesthood, to give these young men the true
grace of the priesthood; to give them the Holy Ghost in Whose
giving she was intermediary the day of Pentecost.
us ask Saint Peter and Saint Paul to maintain in us this faith
in Peter. Ah, yes, we believe in Peter, we believe in the Successor
of Peter! But as Pope Pius IX says well in his dogmatic constitution,
the Pope has received the Holy Ghost, not to make new truths,
but to maintain us in the Faith of all time. This is the definition
of the Pope made at the time of the First Vatican Council by Pope
Pius IX. And that is why we are persuaded that, in maintaining
these traditions, we are manifesting our love, our docility, our
obedience to the Successor of Peter.
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.