Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XXXIX

Letter to the Sovereign Pontiff

16 October 1980

Most Holy Father,

On the occasion of the second anniversary of your election to the Pontificate, deign to accept our felicitations, our best wishes, and the assurance that we shall pray for you. May God come to your aid to restore to the Church the position and the rights which are Her due, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Please allow me to tell Your Holiness of the grief suffered by those thousands of priests and millions of the faithful who are desirous of preserving intact their Catholic Faith and of receiving the graces that they need so as to remain members of the Mystical Body of Our Lord, and who because of their fidelity are persecuted and despised by those who ought to encourage and comfort them.

In the hope that at least the universal Father of the faithful will recognize their fidelity and their devotion to the Apostolic See, they await impatiently the result of proceedings undertaken with Your Holiness by the Society of St. Pius X.

Yet this is the seventh letter in two years which I send to Your Holiness; many a times, at your request, I have gone to talk to Cardinal Seper and Cardinal Palazzini. No reply, no solution has come to light so far.

I have made a positive response to the demands for a declaration which were put to me, with no result.

So as to make a last effort, I attach to this letter a form of declaration which I am ready to sign, appending
thereto those requests which appeared just to those who questioned me, and which evidently seem necessary for a true renewal of the Church. Accordingly I await a reply to this suggestion.

I am growing older, the time for my resignation draws near; it is essential that I should make provision for my succession in the near future. It seems desirable that a solution to our problems should be found while I am as yet at the head of the Society.

In all conscience, I believe I can affirm that I have done all that I could to make my modest contribution to the work of the Church. Our Lord Himself will judge as to the obstacles which are constantly set in the path of the Church's true renewal. The very facts already have within them the crushing verdict.

It is in complete confidence and filial affection that I submit these thoughts to Your Holiness, begging you to accept that I wish to be a good and faithful servant in Christo et Maria.

+Marcel Lefebvre

The Declaration which His Excellency Mgr. Lefebvre is Ready to Sign

In my wish to show my attachment to the Church from which I have never separated myself, I declare that although I have acted in good conscience and in my capacity as a bishop, circumstances have not allowed me to carry out the ordinations in a manner which conforms in every detail with the letter of Canon Law.

Furthermore I declare that I agree with the words of His Holiness John Paul II of 6 November 1978 on the subject of the Pastoral Council, Vatican II: “The Council must be understood in the light of the whole of holy Tradition, and on the basis of the unvarying Magisterium of Holy Mother Church.”

As to the Novus Ordo Mass, I have never said that in its original Latin edition it was invalid per se.

An Agreement Suggested by the Cardinals and Experts
which would be Accepted Officially
at the same time as the Document was signed

1. As to what concerns the Liturgy:

  • Freedom to use the Missal, Ritual, Pontifical and Breviary in the 1962 edition of Pope John XXIII.
  • The establishment by the hierarchy of special parishes for those who use the liturgical books of Pope John XXIII.

2. A declaration as to the nullity of Mgr. Lefebvre’s “suspension a divinis.”

3. Pontifical recognition for the Society of St. Pius X by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy.

Chapter 38

Courtesy of the Angelus Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109