Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XXXI

Letter of Mgr. Lefebvre to Cardinal Palazzini

19 June 1980

Your Eminence,

Father Emmanuel du Chalard, Superior of our house in Albano, has informed me of your intervention with the Holy Father to try to reach a solution to the problem of “traditionalists” within the Church, amongst whom the Society of St. Pius X is one of the most active elements.

The situation occasioned by the post-conciliar reforms, far from becoming less serious is growing in the face of confusion in ideas and the truths of the Faith, brought about by the implementation of these reforms. The destruction is evident everywhere.

The salvation of souls is at stake. A healthy reaction on the part of fervent, faithful Catholics was only to be expected. They sought for priests who had remained faithful to Tradition and asked them for teaching in the Faith and the sure transmission of grace through the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, according to the best and surest tradition of the Church.

However, incredible though it may appear, these priests, these believers, and I myself found ourselves considered by Church authorities as disobedient, as rebels, even though the Apostles, the Church Fathers and all the popes up to Vatican II justify our position and oblige us to act in this way.

Opinion polls among the Catholic population show that the majority of Catholics support us and approve of us.1

What is to be done to avoid continual discord between the bishops and these people?

The attached documents show some recent attempts to achieve this end, which have been successful. But if the climate of recent discussions between the Vatican and myself has markedly improved, there have been no concrete results.

Cardinal Seper, the intermediary chosen by the Pope himself, promised me in the course of our most recent discussions that there would soon be a decree from the Holy Father, leaving priests freedom to choose between the new and old rites. I have never, however, seen this decree, and I have waited for it in vain for almost two years.

So as to facilitate its appearance I have delayed ordinations, suspended confirmations, come to Rome every two months to see Cardinal Seper, but to no avail.

You have, Your Eminence, agreed to take up Cardinal Seper's work. I am pleased at this and hope that your efforts will be crowned by success. You asked me for a declaration a month ago, and I have prepared it and signed it as you wish.

I have attached a short memorandum to this letter. All I can do now is to pray and to wait. I can do no more.

The question which urgently needs a solution is not that of Ecône and its founder, but that of the Liturgy. It is of the greatest importance to the whole Church. “Let there be no more persecution of those who keep the traditional Liturgy!" This is what we beg the Holy Father to say, and to instruct the entire episcopate to this effect.

After this the question of Ecône and all the traditional religious initiatives will easily find a solution for the good of the Church and of souls.

Cardinal Seper has approved this method of procedure. This is what will help to solve everything. The climate is now favorable in every quarter. The declaration on the Holy Mass will be well received in the main.

Your Eminence, permit me to consider as final the most recent declaration which you have requested from me, and which I have had passed on to you by Father du Chalard. Henceforth millions of souls, thousands of priests will wait for a word from the Pope, for a gesture on his part in the matter of the old Liturgy, restoring it to a position it ought never to have lost. This would be the salvation and the true renewal of the Church.

In conclusion I invite you, Your Eminence, to come and visit Albano and Ecône, let us say in October when the seminarians are present. You will then perhaps better understand the urgency of a happy solution.

We pray for this intention with all our heart; and I beg you, Your Eminence, to allow me to express my respectful and brotherly feelings in Christo et Maria.

+ Marcel Lefebvre

1. This might possibly be the case among practising Catholics in France, but in most countries the attitude of the majority of Catholics to the contemporary crisis is one of apathy, as explained in my commentary on England’s National Pastoral Congress (see pages 192-199).

Chapter 30

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