Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XVI

From the Superior General’s Desk


Archbishop Lefebvre
16 February 1980
Translated from Cor Unum – March 1980

My dear brethren,

The happy suggestion of starting the periodical Cor Unum came from Father Tissier de Mallerais, who is already overworked in his assignment as Rector of the Seminary at Ecône. We are sincerely grateful to him for the idea. In fact, this is quite the normal thing in religious orders: a periodical publication to strengthen the family ties, in this case, of the members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X; the more necessary because it has grown so rapidly and the demands of the times have forced it to spread itself so thinly.

We certainly feel the need of this bond of internal union. At the same time, and for even greater unity and efficiency in running the Society, the need for a Mother House1 has arisen – a house more able to maintain the close ties between the head and members of the Society. Thus in the very old and very sound tradition of the Church, religious orders, priestly and missionary societies have been organized and developed – with a view to a more fruitful apostolate. The goal of everything we do is to lead souls to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now in these difficult times, when everything seems designed to confuse the mind and corrupt the heart, we must have some kind of authority in order to establish unity of thought and of Conviction and of faith, and unity in charity. And we have seen the painful spectacle of what happens when authorities in the Church fail to do their duty through blindness, weakness and cowardice, and thus contribute to the self-destruction of the Church.

Our beloved Fraternity of St. Pius X received its charter from the Church and therefore participates in the legitimate authority of the Church. The illegal and unjust attacks against it have not succeeded in suppressing it – any more than the immemorial Mass or the immemorial catechism have been suppressed. It continues to do the work of the Church, faithful to the recognition it has received from the Church, and faithful to its statutes (praised by the Congregation for the Clergy),2 while waiting for the injustice to be lifted.

We must not be surprised if, in the fury of the storm which the Church is now undergoing, our little Fraternity is violently attacked. Some people consider it too much opposed to the Council and to Rome, too much attached to Tradition, dogma and liturgy; too much opposed to the reforms, too unecumenical, etc. Others, by contrast, think we are too close to Rome, which they call the seat of Antichrist, an antechamber of hell; they think we are not vigorous enough in opposing the reforms.

To all these attacks we reply not so much in words as in deeds. We have always had a horror of empty polemics. Our attitude has always been clear and unchanged from the beginning. We continue to do what the Church has always done and always taught – especially regarding the formation of priests. We have never acted as if the See of Peter was vacant. We have always maintained contact with the Holy See, but we have never been afraid to defend the Truth to the popes themselves and those whom they send to question us. The pages of ltinéraires are proof of this. In all these cases we have affirmed that we consider the Novus Ordo Missæ dangerous for the faith of people and of priests, and that as a result it is impossible to train young priests for this new Ordo. The facts are clear. The Catholic instinct of the faithful, wherever it has not been corrupted, approves of us entirely, even among those who no longer practise the Faith. I will go so far to say that those who still have a little common sense congratulate and encourage us. What is a society or a family without a past, without tradition? And what should we say of the Church which is itself the embodiment of a Tradition?

The history of the Church teaches us how to act in these difficult times, and it teaches us above all that we must realize that “man proposes but God disposes." What are we in the hands of God? Nothing. But with

The Fraternity is the will of God. Its whole history proves this: all the good it has done, all the evil it has prevented. This shows where it came from and how necessary it is.

Please do not ask me to change my line of conduct – either in the direction of the Roman authorities or in the direction of those advocating schism. Such conduct is not for me. My path, rather, draws its strength from the Truth and from the Wisdom of the Church and from its Tradition, its dogma and history, especially the conduct of the last two popes to be canonized: St. Pius V and St. Pius X. This was the path of all the bishops of the present day for the greater part of their lives: it is what put their faith into daily practice. My path is not a mystery, therefore, nor unique, nor the result of imagination or pride.

My dear brethren, let us remain united in these convictions. Let us not be turned aside by the sophisms of disobedience or the sophisms of abstract logic. Let us keep the Faith – the simple and solid faith of the just and faithful soul, according to the model of Mary and Joseph and all who have followed their example.

†Marcel Lefebvre

16 February 1980


1. The address of the Mother House to which correspondence concerning the Society of St. Pius X should be sent is: Prieuré Saint Nicholas de Flüe, Solothurnerstrasse, 35, CH-4613, Rickenbach (Soleure), Switzerland.
2. See Apologia, 1, page 445.
nothing God can do everything. An unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ sustains and inspires us – nothing else. He holds all destinies in His Hand and His Truth shall not perish, even if the enemy has succeeded in entering the corridors of the Vatican.

Chapter 15

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