Communiqué from the Vatican Press Office
Mgr. Marcel Lefebvre came yesterday to Castelgandolfo to ask
the Holy Father for an audience.
received this morning at 10:30.
after pointing out that the problems raised had been and were
always followed by the Pope with the keenest and most constant
attention, invited him, in words especially and intensely paternal,
to reflect on the situation he had created, a situation gravely
damaging to the Church, as well as on his personal responsibility
with regard to group of the faithful who follow him and to the
whole ecclesial community, and before God.
Archbishop Lefebvre is Received in Audience by His Holiness
Pope Paul VI
account of Mgr. Lefebvre's audience with Paul VI is entirely in
the Archbishop's own words. The part is taken from a press conference
given at Ecône on 15 September, the full text of which was
published in Itineraires No.208, pp. 100-116. The second
part is taken from a conference given to the seminarians at Ecône
on 18 September. The full text is included in Itineraires No.
208, pp. 136-154. In neither case was the Archbishop speaking
from a prepared text, which explains a somewhat disjointed style
I tell you
quite sincerely that this meeting with the Pope was for me altogether
unexpected. Certainly I had been wanting it for several years.
I had asked to meet the Holy Father, to talk to him about my seminary,
my work - I might say to give him joy because I was still able,
in spite of the circumstances, to manage to form some priests,
to help the Church in the formation of priests. But I never succeeded.
I was always told that the Pope had not time to receive me. Then,
little by little, when the seminary was penalized, the difficulties
were obviously greater, with the result that I was never able
to get through the bronze door. But after those events (the suppression
of the seminary and the suppression of the Fraternity) the condition
set for my seeing the Holy Father was that I submit to the Council,
the post-conciliar reforms, and the post-conciliar orientations
desired by the Holy Father - that is, practically, the closure
of my seminary. That I did not accept. I could not accept the
closure of my seminary or the cessation of ordinations in the
seminary, because I consider that I am doing constructive work,
I am building the Church, not pulling it down, though the demolition
is going on all around me. I consider that I cannot in conscience
collaborate in the destruction of the Church. That brought us
to a complete deadlock: on the one side the Holy See was imposing
conditions which meant the closure of the seminary, and on the
other side I would not have the seminary closed. It seemed, therefore,
that dialogue was impossible. Then, as you know, that penalty
of suspension a divinis was imposed, which is very serious
in the Church, especially for a bishop: it means that I am forbidden
to perform acts corresponding to my episcopal ordination - no
Mass, no sacraments, no administering of sacraments. Very serious.
That shocked public opinion, and it so happened that a current
of opinion was formed in my favor. It was not I who sought it:
it was the Holy See itself which gave tremendous publicity to
the suspension and to the seminary. You represent all the means
for the diffusion of news, and it was your job to give people
what they wanted by speaking of this event. That set moving a
wave of opinion which, to say the least, was unexpected by the
So the Vatican
found itself in a rather delicate and tiresome situation in face
of public opinion, and that, I think or least imagine, is why
the Pope wanted to see me after all, but not officially through
the usual channels: I did not see Mgr. Martin, who usually arranges
audiences, nor did I meet Cardinal Villot - I met no one. It so
happened that I was at Besançon preparing for Mass when
I was told: "There is a priest come from Rome who would like
to see you after Mass. It is very urgent and very important."
I said: "I'll see him after Mass."
Mass we retired to a corner of the room where we happened to be,
and this priest, Don Domenico La Bellarte I think - I did not
know him, having never in my life set eyes on him - said to me:
"The Archbishop of Chieti, my superior, saw the Holy Father
recently, and the Holy Father expressed a desire to see you."
I said to him: "Look, I've been wanting to see the Holy Father
for five years. They always impose conditions, and they will impose
the same conditions again. I do not see why I should go to Rome
now." He insisted, saying: "There has been a change.
Something has changed at Rome in the situation with regard to
you." "Very well. If you can assure me that the Archbishop
of Chieti will accompany me to the Holy Father, I have never refused
to see the Holy Father and I am willing to go."
I then promised
him that I would go to Rome as soon as possible. I had the ceremony
at Fanjeaux, so I went to Fanjeaux, so I went to Fanjeux and afterwards
went direct by car to Rome. I tried to get in touch with that
priest, and I met him in Rome, where he said to me: "You
had better, all the same, write a bit of a letter to the Holy
Father which I can give to Mgr. Macchi, his secretary, and then
you will be able to see the Holy Father." I said: "But
what sort of letter? There is no question of my asking pardon
or saying that I accept beforehand whatever will be imposed on
me. I will not accept that." Then he said to me: "Write
anything. Put something on paper and I'll take it at once to Castelgandolfo."
I wrote expressing my deep respect for the person of the Holy
Father and saying that if there were, in the expressions I had
used in speeches and writings, anything displeasing to the Holy
Father, I regretted them; that I was always ready to be received,
and hope to be received, by the Holy Father. I signed the letter,
and that was that.1 The priest did not even
read the little note I had written but put it in an envelope.
I addressed the envelope to the Holy Father and we set off for
Castel-gandolfo. He went in to the palace. We remained a while
outside. He went to see Mgr. Macchi, who said to him: "I
cannot give you an answer at once. I will let you know about seven
this evening." That was last Thursday evening. And in fact
at seven I got a telephone call in my house at Albano. I was told:
"You will have an audience with the Holy Father tomorrow
So, the next
day, Saturday, at quarter past ten, I went to Castelgandolfo,
and there I really believe the Holy Angels had driven out the
Vatican employees because I had come back there: there were two
Swiss Guards at the entrance, and after that I encountered only
Mgr X (not Mgr. Y: their names are very alike). Mgr. X, the Canadian,
conducted me to the lift. Only the lift man was there, that is
all, and I went up. The three of us went up to the first floor,
and there, accompanied by Mgr. X, I went through all the rooms:
there are at least seven or eight before you come to the Holy
Father's office. Not a living soul! Usually - I have often been
to private audience in the days of Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII,
Pope John XXIII, and even Pope Paul VI - there is always at least
one Swiss Guard, always a gendarme, always several people: a private
chamberlain, a monseigneur who is present if only to keep an eye
on things and prevent incidents. But the rooms were empty - nothing,
absolutely nothing. So I went to the Holy Father's office, where
I found the Holy Father with Mgr. Benelli at his side. I greeted
the Holy Father and I greeted Mgr. Benelli. We seated ourselves
at once, and the audience began.
Father was lively enough at the beginning - one could almost call
it somewhat violent in a way: one could feel that he was deeply
wounded and rather provoked by what we are doing. He said to me:
condemn me, you condemn me. I am a Modernist. I am a Protestant.
It cannot be allowed, you are doing an evil work, you ought not
to continue, you are causing scandal in the Church, etc..."
with nervous irritability.
I kept quiet,
you may be sure. After that he said to me:
speak now, speak. What have you to say?"
I said to
Father, I come here, but not as the head of the traditionalists.
You have said I am head of the traditionalists. I deny flatly
that I am head of the traditionalists. I am only a Catholic, a
priest, a bishop, among millions of Catholics, thousands of priests
and other bishops who are torn and pulled apart in conscience,
in mind, in heart. On the one side we desire to submit to you
entirely, to follow you in everything, to have no reserves about
your person, and on the other side we are aware that the lines
taken by the Holy See since the Council, and the whole new orientation,
turn us away from your predecessors. What then are we to do? We
find ourselves obliged either to attach ourselves to your predecessors
or to attach ourselves to your person and separate ourselves from
your predecessors. For Catholics to be torn like that is unheard
of, unbelievable. And it is not I who have provoked that, it is
not a movement made by me, it is a feeling that comes from the
hearts of the faithful, millions of the faithful whom I do not
know. I have no idea how many there are. They are all over the
world, everywhere. Everybody is uneasy about this upset that has
happened in the Church in the last ten years, about the ruins
accumulating in the Church. Here are examples: there is a basic
attitude in people, an interior attitude which makes them now
unchangeable. They will not change because they have chosen: they
have made their choice for Tradition and for those who maintain
Tradition. There are examples like that of the religious Sisters
I saw two days ago, good religious who wish to keep their religious
life, who teach children as their parents want them to be taught
- many parents bring their children to them because they will
receive a Catholic education from these religious. So, here are
religious keeping their religious habit; and just because they
wish to preserve the old prayer and to keep the old catechism
they are excommunicated. The Superior General has been dismissed.
The bishop has been five times, requiring them to abandon their
religious habit because they have been reduced to the lay state.
People who see that do not understand. And, side by side with
that, nuns who discard their habit, return to all the worldly
vanities, no longer have a religious rule, no longer pray - they
are officially approved by bishops, and no one says a word against
them! The man in the street, the poor Christian, seeing these
things cannot accept them. That is impossible. Then it is the
same for priests. Good priests who say their Mass well, who pray,
who are to be found in the confessional, who preach true doctrine,
who visit the sick, who wear their soutane, who are true priests
loved by their people because they keep the Old Mass, the Mass
of their ordination, who keep the old catechism, are thrown on
the street as worthless creatures, all but excommunicated. And
then priests go into factories, never dress as priests so that
there is no knowing what they are, preach revolution - and they
are officially accepted, and nobody says anything to them. As
for me, I am in the same case. I try to make priests, good priests
as they were made formerly; there are many vocations, the young
men are admired by the people who see them in trains, on the underground;
they are greeted, admired, congratulated on their dress and bearing;
and I am suspended a divinis! And the bishops who have
no more seminarians, no young priests, nothing, and whose seminaries
no longer make good priests - nothing is said to them! You understand;
the poor average Christian sees it clearly. He has chosen and
he will not budge. He has reached his limit. It is impossible."
is not true. You do not train good priests," he said to me,
"because you make them take an oath against the Pope."
I answered. "An oath against the Pope? I who, on the contrary,
try to give them respect for the Pope, respect for the successor
of Peter! On the contrary, we pray for the Holy Father, and you
will never be able to show me this oath which they take against
the Pope. Can you give me a copy of it?"
officially, the Vatican spokesmen have published in today's paper,
where you can read it, the Vatican denial, saying that it is not
true, that the Holy Father did not say that to me: the Holy Father
did not say to me that I made my seminarians and young priests
take an oath against the Pope. But how could I have invented that?
How invent anything of the kind? It is unthinkable. But now they
deny it: the Holy Father did not say it. It is incredible. And
obviously I have no tape recording. I did not write out the whole
conversation, so I cannot prove the contrary materially. But my
very reaction! I cannot forget how I reacted to that assertion
by the Holy Father. I can still see myself gesturing and saying:
"But how, Holy Father, can you possibly say such a thing!
Can you show
me a copy of the oath?" And now they are saying it is not
true. It is extraordinary!
Holy Father said to me, further:
is true, is it not, that you condemn me?"
I had the
strong impression that it all came back rather to his person,
that he was personally hurt:
condemn me, so what ought I to do? Must I hand in my resignation
and let you take my place?"
I put my head in my hands.
Father, do not say such things. No, no, no, no!" I then said:
Father, let me continue. You have the solution of the problem
in your hands. You need say only one word to the bishops: receive
fraternally, with understanding and charity all those groups of
traditionalists, all those who wish to keep the prayer of former
days, the sacraments as before, the catechism as before. Receive
them, give them places of worship, settle with them so that they
can pray and remain in relation with you, in intimate relation
with their bishops. You need say only one word to the bishops
and everything will return to order and at that moment we shall
have no more problems. Things will return to order. As for the
seminary, I myself shall have no difficulty in going to the bishops
and asking them to implant my priests in their dioceses: things
will be done normally. I myself am very willing to renew relations
with a commission you could name from the Congregation of Religious
to come to the seminary. But clearly we shall keep and wish to
continue the practice of Tradition. We should be allowed to maintain
that practice. But I want to return to normal and official relations
with the Holy See and with the Congregations. Beyond that I want
He then said
“I must reflect,
I must pray, I must consult the Consistory, I must consult the
Curia. I cannot give you an answer. We shall see.”
he said to me: "We will pray together."
I said: "Most
willingly, Holy Father."
We then said
the Pater Noster, Veni Creator, and an Ave Maria, and he then
led me back very pleasantly, but with difficulty - his walk was
painful, and he dragged his legs a little. In the room to the
side he waited until Domenico came for me; and he had a small
medal given to Don Domenico. We then left. Mgr. Benelli did not
open his mouth; he did nothing but write all the time, like a
secretary. He did not bother me at all. It was as though Mgr.
Benelli were not present. I think it did not trouble the Holy
Father, just as it did not trouble me, because he did not open
his mouth, and gave no sign. I
then said twice again that he had the solution of the problem
in his hands. He then showed his satisfaction at having had this
interview, this dialogue. I said I was always at his disposal.
We then left.
they are now relating what they like in the newspapers, the most
fantastic inventions - that I accepted everything, that I made
a complete submission; then they said it was all to the contrary
- that I had accepted nothing and conceded nothing. Now they are
telling me, in effect, that I lied, that I am inventing things
in the conversation I had with the Holy Father. My impression
is that they are so furious that this audience took place unforeseen,
without going through the usual channels, that they are trying
in every way to discredit it, and to discredit me as well. Clearly
they are afraid that this audience puts me back in favor with
many people, who are saying: Now, if Monseigneur has seen the
Holy Father, there are no more problems: he is back again with
the Holy Father. In fact, we have never been against the Holy
Father and have always wanted to be with the Holy Father.
I have just written to him again because Cardinal Thiandoum was
so insistent on that2
so that he
could have a short note from me to take to the Holy Father. I
said to him: "Good. I am ready to write a short letter to
the Holy Father (though I am beginning to think that this correspondence
is endless), 1 want to thank the Holy Father for granting me this
audience." I did that, and thanked the Holy Father..
Father had said in the course of the conversation: "Well,
at least we have a point in common: we both want to stop all these
abuses that exist at present in the Church, so as to give back
to the Church Her true countenance, etc...
So I put
in my letter that I was ready to collaborate with him, he having
said in the course of the audience that at least we had a point
in common, to give the Church back Her true countenance and to
suppress all the abuses in the Church. In that, I was quite ready
to collaborate, and indeed under his authority. I said nothing,
I think, which would promise too much, as giving back Her true
countenance to the Church is what we are doing.
When I also
said to him that I was, in fact, basing myself on “pluralism,”
all, with the present pluralism how would it be to let those also
who want to keep Tradition be on the same footing as the others?
It is the least that could be granted us." I said: "1
do not know, Holy Father, if you know that there are twenty-three
official eucharistic prayers in France.”
his arms to heaven and said: "Many more, Monseigneur, many
So then I
said to him:
there are many more, if, even so, you add another, I do not see
how that can harm the Church. Is it a mortal sin to keep up Tradition
and do what the Church has always done?”
the Pope seems well-informed.
So now I
think we must pray and hold firm. There may be some among you
who were shocked at the suspension a divinis and, I should
say, by my rejection of the suspension a divinis. Of course.
I understand. But that rejection is part, and I say it should
be seen as part, of our refusal to accept the judgment that came
to us from Rome. All that is the same thing. It is part of the
same context; it is all linked together. It that not so? So I
do not see why I should accept this suspension since I did not
accept the prohibition of ordaining, nor accept the closing of
the seminary and the closing and destruction of the Fraternity.
That would mean that I should have accepted from the moment of
the first sentence, of the first condemnation: I should have said
Yes, we are condemned, we close the seminary and end the Fraternity
.Why did I not accept that? Because it was done illegally, because
it is based on no proof and no judgment. I do not know if you
have had occasion to read what Cardinal Garrone himself said in
an interview : our meeting with Mgr. Lefebvre in Rome with the
three Cardinals was not a tribunal. He said that openly. It is
what I have always said myself. It was a conversation. I have
never found myself before a tribunal. The Visitation was not a
tribunal; it was an enquiry, not a judgment. So there was no tribunal,
no judgment, nothing: I have been condemned like that without
being able to defend myself, with no monition, nothing in writing,
nothing. No! It is not possible. All the same, justice exists.
So I rejected that condemnation, because it was illegal and because
I was not able to make my appeal. The way that happened is absolutely
inadmissible. We have been given no valid reasons for our condemnation.
Once that sentence has been rejected, there is no valid reason
for not rejecting the others, for the others always rest on that
one. Why have I been forbidden to ordain? Because the Fraternity
was "suppressed" and the seminary should have been closed.
So I have no right to ordain. I reject that because it is based
on a judgment that is false. Why am I suspended a divinis?
I ordained when I had been forbidden to do so. But I do not accept
that sentence about ordinations precisely because I do not accept
the judgment that was pronounced. It is a chain. I do not accept
the chain because I do not accept the first link on which the
entire condemnation was built. I cannot accept it.
the Holy Father himself did not speak to me of the suspension,
he did not speak to me of the seminary , of anything. On that
subject, nothing, nothing at all.
That is the
situation as it is at present. I think that for you, clearly -
and I understand - it is a drama, as it is for me; and I think
we desire from our heart that normal relations will be resumed
with the Holy See. But who was it who broke off normal relations?
They were broken at the Council. It was at the Council that normal
relations with the Church were broken, it was at the Council that
the Church, separating Herself from Tradition, departing from
Tradition, took up an abnormal attitude to Tradition. It is that
which we cannot accept; we cannot accept a separation from Tradition.
As I said
to the Holy Father: "In so far as you deviate from your predecessors,
we can no longer follow you." That is plain. It is not we
who deviate from his predecessors.
When I said
to him: "But look again at the texts on religious liberty
, two texts which formally contradict one another, word for word
(important dogmatic texts, that of Gregory XVI and that of Pius
IX, Quanta Cura, and then that on religious liberty, they contradict
one another, word for word); which are we to choose?"
"Oh, leave those things. Let us not start discussions.” 3
the whole problem is there. In so far as the new Church separates
itself from the old Church we cannot follow it. That is the position,
and that is why we maintain Tradition, we keep firmly to Tradition;
and I am sure we are being of immense service to the Church. I
should say that the Econe seminary is basic to the battle we are
waging. It is the Church’s battle, and it is with that idea that
we should position ourselves.
I must say that this conversation with the Holy Father has left
me with a painful impression. I had precisely the impression that
what he was defending was himself personally:
are against me!"
not against you, I am against what separates us from Tradition;
I am against what draws us towards Protestantism, towards Modernism.”
I had the
impression that he was considering the whole problem as personal.
It is not the person, it is not Mgr. Montini: we regard him as
the successor of Peter, and as successor of Peter he should pass
on to us the faith of his predecessors. In so far as he does not
pass on the faith of his predecessors he is no longer the successor
of Peter. He becomes a person separated from his duty, denying
his duty, not doing his duty. There is nothing I can do: I am
not to blame. When Fesquet of Le Monde-he was there in
the second row two or three days ago-said: "But in fact you
are alone. Alone against all the bishops. What on earth can you
do? What sense is there in combat of that sort?"
"What do you mean? I am not alone, I have the whole of Tradition
with me. Besides, even here I am not alone. I know that many bishops
privately think as we do. We have many priests with us, and there
are the seminary and the seminarians and all those who come our
is not made by numbers: numbers do not make Truth. Even if I am
alone, and even if all my seminarians leave me, even if I am abandoned
by the whole of public opinion, it is all the same to me. I am
attached to my catechism, attached to my Credo, attached to the
Tradition which sanctified all the saints in heaven. I am not
concerned about others: they do as they wish; but I want to save
my soul. Public opinion I know too well: it was public opinion
which condemned Our Lord after acclaiming Him a few days before.
First, Palm Sunday: then, Good Friday. We know that. Public opinion
is not to be trusted at all. Today it is for me, tomorrow it is
against me. What matters is fidelity to our faith. We should have
that conviction and stay calm.
Holy Father said to me:
all, do you not feel within you something which reproaches you
for what you are doing? You are making a huge scandal in the Church.
Is there not something which reproaches you?"
"No, Holy Father, not at all!"
"Oh! Then you are irresponsible."
I said. I could not say otherwise. If I had anything to reproach
myself with I should stop at once.
during your retreat, because I think things are going to happen
- they have been happening for a long time, but the further we
go the more often we come to critical point. All the same, the
fact that God has allowed me to meet the Holy Father, to tell
him what we think, and to leave the whole responsibility for the
situation, now, in his hand - that is something willed by God.
It remains for us to pray, begging the Holy Ghost to enlighten
him and to give him courage to act in a manner which could clearly
be very hard for him. I see no other solution. God has all the
solutions. I could die tomorrow. We should pray also for the faithful
who maintain Tradition that they may always preserve a strong,
firm attitude, but not an attitude of contempt for persons, insult
to persons, insult to bishops. We have the advantage of possessing
the Truth-we are not at fault - just as the Church has the superiority
over error of having the Truth: that superiority is Hers.
have the conviction that we are upholding the Truth, Truth must
plot our course, Truth must convince. It is not our person, it
is not outbursts of anger, or insult of people, which will give
added weight to Truth. On the contrary, that could cast doubt
upon our possession of the Truth. Becoming angry and insulting
shows that we do not completely trust in the weight of Truth,
which is the weight of God Himself. It is in God that we trust,
in Truth which is God, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ. What can
be surer than that? Nothing. And little by little that Truth makes,
and will make, its way. It must. So let us resolve that in our
expressions and attitudes we shall not despise and insult people,
but be firm against error. Absolute firmness, without compromise,
without relaxation, because we are with Our Lord-it is a question
of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the glory of the Blessed Trinity is at stake-not the infinite
glory in heaven, but the glory here below on earth. It is Truth;
and we defend it at any cost, whatever happens.
I thank you
all for praying for these intentions, as I believe you did during
the vacation, and I thank all those who had the kindness to write
me a few words during the vacation to say and show their sympathy
and affection during these times, which are always something of
a trial. God certainly helps us in this fight: that is absolutely
certain. But, all the same, it is trying. It would be such happiness
to work with all those who have responsibility in the Church and
who ought to work with us for the kingdom of Our Lord.
united. Make a good retreat so that you will be able to undertake
a profitable year of studies.
Declarations by the Director of the Press Office
Director of the Vatican Press Office, read the following declarations
on 14 September. They were reproduced in Italian in L'Osservatore
Romano of 15 September. This translation is from the French
version published in La Documentation Catholique and reproduced
in Itineraires, No.207, pp. 190-191.
was published in Itineraires, No. 208, p. 135.
Letter to Friends and Benefactors (N0. 11)
appearance of our last letter, at Eastertime, so many more events
have marked out of the history of our work which has since become
a center of universal interest: yet another proof, if such was
needed, that the people of our time can still be stirred by religious
problems and that these problems have a much more important impact
on our society than is generally believed.
At the beginning
of these events a great many among you have shared their sorrow,
their sympathy, and sometimes their worries with us. All have
assured us of their fervent prayers. We have received thousands
of letters and telegrams and it has been impossible for us to
reply to each individually. You will find, therefore, in these
lines the expression of our profound gratitude. May they also
be a source of encouragement and hope for you.
To help you
make those persons who know little about us understand the reasons
for our attitude, we insist on two things which seem to us to
be very important: the disciplinary aspect and the theological
aspect, or the aspect of Faith.
not condemn without judgment and one cannot judge if the cause
cannot be given a hearing in the forms which assure its perfect
and free defense before a tribunal. But we have been condemned
without judgment, without being able to plead our cause, and without
appearing before any tribunal. From this arbitrary and tyrannical
condemnation of the Society of Saint Pius X and its Seminary follow
the interdiction of Ordinations and the suspension which concerns
us personally. Considering the evident nullity of the first sentence,
we do not see how the sentences which are its follow-up can be
valid. That is why we are not taking any account of the decisions
of an authority which abuses its power.
If it was
only a question of a juridical problem and if the unjust sentences
only concerned us personally, we would submit in a penitential
spirit. However, to this juridical aspect is attached a much more
serious motive, that of the safe-guard of our Faith.
these decisions constrain us to submit ourselves to a new orientation
in the Church, an orientation which is the result of an "historic
compromise" between Truth and Error.
compromise" was brought about in the Church by the acceptance
of Liberal ideas which were put into operation after the Council
by the men of the Liberal Church who succeeded in taking the reins
of power in the Church.
It is put
into concrete form by the dialogue with the Protestants which
has led to the liturgical reform and to the decrees concerning
inter-communion and mixed marriages. Dialogue with Communists
has resulted in the giving over of entire nations to Socialism
or to Marxism, such as Cuba, Viet Nam, and Portugal. Soon it will
be Spain, if not Italy. Dialogue with Freemasons has concluded
in liberty of worship, liberty of conscience, and freedom of thought
which means the suffocation of Truth and morality by error and
It is in
this betrayal of the Church that they would like us to collaborate
by bringing us into line with this orientation which has so often
been condemned by the Successors of Peter, and by preceding Councils.
this compromise in order to be faithful to our Faith, our Baptism,
and our unique King, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why
we will continue to ordain those whom Providence leads to our
Seminary, after having given them a formation which is completely
in conformity with the doctrine of the Church, and faithful to
the Magisterium of the Successors of Peter.
we should have fourteen new priests and we are accepting thirty-five
new seminarians, of whom four will be postulants to the brotherhood.
We have the great pleasure of welcoming several Italians and Belgians.
All of these candidates are on the retreat which starts the academic
time our priories are being slowly fitted out. Three of these
will become active during 1977. We are being asked for everywhere.
The groups of faithful Catholics are growing considerably and
the priests are not yet numerous enough.
We are greatly
counting on your spiritual and material support to permit us to
continue the most necessary work for the renovation of souls,
the formation of true priests, not to mention that of brothers
On 26 September
last, two brothers made their profession and two received the
habit, while on 29 September we had the pleasure of receiving
the profession of Sister Mary Michael, who is of Australian origin
and is the first nun of the Society, as well as the blessing of
the habit of three American postulants. Eight new women presented
themselves to the postulancy on 20 September last.
we are not alone in maintaining the holy Tradition of the Church
in this domain. The novitiates of men and women multiply in spite
of the trials which they are suffering from those who should rather
help of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph we hope that the end of this persecution
that we are unjustly suffering is forth-coming. God will not abandon
His Church even if he allows Her to suffer the Passion of Her
That in every
domain we may make Our Lord Jesus Christ to reign!
This is our
May God bless
you by the mediation of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Regarding the precise text of the letter,
the following note was printed in Itinéraries, No.207,
November 1976, p.188: "Mgr. Lefebvre's Request to Pope Paul
VI for an Audience," The text of this letter has not been
published. We asked Mgr. Lefebvre about the matter, and this is