Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3



VOLUME II of the Apologia took the story of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre up to the end of 1979, with the celebration of his Golden Jubilee providing a fitting climax. It has been suggested that I should have referred to another event which brought the year 1979 to a very encouraging climax for every faithful Catholic. This was, of course, the action taken by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December 1979 to prevent Hans Kung from teaching as a Catholic theologian. This was only one of a series of actions to uphold orthodoxy occurring in the first full year of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, actions which made 1979 a year of hope for those who had been praying for a pope who would initiate a return to Tradition.

It was further suggested that by documenting the case of Archbishop Lefebvre in isolation from these events, the account I had given lacked balance, and gave the impression that while the Vatican was taking action against traditional Catholics, epitomized by the Archbishop, it was ignoring the deviations from orthodoxy among Liberal or progressive Catholics. It was by no means my intention to give such an impression, and the explanation of my failure to refer to these events is simply that the book was concerned solely with the case of Archbishop Lefebvre, and not with presenting a generalized picture of events in the Church during the period that it covered. However, in this and subsequent volumes I shall broaden the scope of my account and refer to events not relating directly to the Archbishop. This should have the effect both of broadening the interest of the book and helping to place the case of Archbishop Lefebvre in its correct historical perspective. I shall begin this volume by listing some of the events which made 1979 a year of such hope.

This volume should be particularly useful in helping the reader to put the case of Archbishop Lefebvre in its correct historical perspective. It includes abundant documentation to prove that, as Pope Paul VI admitted, the Church is undergoing a process of self-destruction. Against a background of continual decline in every aspect of Catholic life subject to empirical verification, from baptisms to vocations, we see entire hierarchies acquiescing in, if not actively encouraging, the subversion of Catholic teaching on faith and morals among the flocks for whose pastoral care they are responsible. This volume will document frequent instances of excellent pronouncements from the Pope and the Holy See intended to halt the abuses and the decline, but, alas, no steps are taken to discipline the overwhelming majority of bishops who do not make even a pretense at implementing the papal directives. "The hungry sheep look up and are not fed." The most depressing incident narrated in this book is that of a visit by the Chief Shepherd of Christ's flock to Canterbury Cathedral where he behaved, to all intents and purposes, as if the Anglican sect and its invalidly ordained ministers form part of the one true Church founded by Our Lord.

This volume also documents the visits of a good shepherd, a bonus pastor, into the dioceses of shepherds who have opened the doors of the sheepfold to allow wolves to enter and ravage their flocks with impunity. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the media and of the Vatican, it is the good shepherd who must be censured and not the bad shepherds, the hirelings, who have abandoned their flocks. It cannot be denied that Archbishop Lefebvre breaches the letter of Canon Law; it cannot be denied that his judgments are sometimes hasty and expressed intemperately. Equally, it cannot be denied that he is motivated by a single desire - the salvation of souls: Salus animarum suprema lex - "The salvation of souls is the supreme law."

The most effective answers to the distorted and frequently vindictive accounts of the Archbishop which appear in the Catholic press can be found in his sermons, of which a good number appear in this volume. They are profoundly spiritual and totally Catholic. Their message is simple: "Let us keep the Faith - the simple and solid faith of the just and the faithful soul, according to the model of Mary and Joseph and all who have followed their example." This "simple and solid Faith" is expressed in beautiful and inspiring terms in the Profession of Faith of the priests of Campos, Brazil, which concludes this volume, as Appendix II. This is the Faith of our Fathers, this is the Faith that we must hold and we must cling to if we are to be saved. "Blessed be God!" wrote Cardinal Newman, "We have not to find the truth. It is put into our hearts, to preserve it in- violate, and to deliver it to our posterity." It is to this sublime task that Archbishop Lefebvre and the priests of his Society have dedicated their lives. May God bless them for it and sustain them in it.

I must offer my thanks to my friend, Norah Haines, without whose help this volume would not yet be complete. I cannot thank her sufficiently for all that she has done to help me with so many books, for so many years. I must also thank my son, Adrian, for translating the correspondence between Archbishop Lefebvre and the Holy See, and Father Philip Stark for translating the Archbishop's sermons and other items from the French. Finally, I must thank Carlita Brown for typesetting yet another of my books without complaining (too much) about the constant corrections and revisions.

Work on Volume IV is already well underway, but I cannot yet say when it is likely to appear.

Michael Davies

27 Apri11988

St. Peter Canisius



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