Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 2, Chapter XVIII

Answers to More General Assertions


1. Declarations with regard to the Second Vatican Council

The answers given to various points raised above show why and to what extent we have reservations more or less serious about certain texts of the Council, especially the documents "Religious Liberty," "The Church in the Modern World," and "Non-Christian Religions."

How explain that these texts of the Council contain expressions contrary to the traditional teaching of the Church, unless by evil influences working before and during the Council? There were sessions of the central pre-conciliar Commission in which these regrettable influences were manifest.

Does one become schismatic by maintaining firmly the official and traditional Magisterium of the Church? Is it schismatic to denounce the Modernist and Liberal influences that were at work in the Council? Is not that, rather, to serve the Church? Does it not manifest our profound union with the Bishops and the Pope, who cannot and must not separate themselves from their predecessors, but who are not exempt from dangerous influences, the consequences of that spirit of openness to the world, of exaggerated ecumenism, which seeks union instead of unity in the Truth which the Church alone possesses?


2. The Authority of Pope Paul VI

We do not deny the authority of Pope Paul VI. We respect it, much more, and much more deeply, than most of the bishops of the whole world who have disobeyed and continue to disobey in those matters in which the Pope was doing no more than confirm the teaching of his predecessors. And those bishops have never been harassed.

As for us, we think it our duty not to obey when we are required to break with the traditional teaching of the Church. That teaching is clear in what regards "Religious Liberty" and its consequences, and in regard to the Liturgy.

We refer to the clear principles of the natural and eternal law. As Leo XIII puts it:

The moment a command is contrary to reason, to eternal life, to the authority of God, then it is lawful to disobey, man that is, so as to obey God (Libertas praesrantissimum, 20 June 1888).

He adds:

If there were an order of any power whatsoever at variance with the principles of right reason and with the interests of the public good, it would have no force of law.

The prohibitions imposed on us are imposed to compel us to agree to diminish and attack our faith. That is why we are convinced that those prohibitions have no force of law.

Authority in the Church is given for the faithful and exact transmission of "the deposit of faith." To use that authority in a sense harmful to the deposit of faith is to lose the right to obedience. That does not mean the loss of all authority.

We faithfully respect the authorities in the Church when they act in conformity with the end for which authority was given them.

If it were only a question of discipline with no connection with the faith, we should not hesitate to sacrifice our personal preferences and ideas; but when the faith is in question, our eternal life is at stake. The salvation of souls is in danger. The facts give us ample proof of that, in the saddest and most agonizing way. It is the Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth which is under attack. We cannot collaborate in its disappearance.

The deep reasons for the radical change that has come over the Church since Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI and by the Council.

Pope Paul VI has often made this statement in his addresses: from now on the Church is modifying her way of judging the modern world and modern man. She loves him, she respects him as he is, she sees in this man, this brother, his human dignity, the liberty of his religious and cultural choices. She will no longer oppose his choices; rather, she would like to come nearer to them, to assume them, for she sees in them a search for truth, a contribution to the building of the world; and, with that in mind, in practice no longer wants to impose her message, but to propose it as one she thinks most effective in the building of this world. She no longer imposes conversion, but fraternizes with groups outside the Church just as they are, except with those which are opposed to this new vision of the world.

Hence a Liberal Ecumenism which no longer sees the world as Our Lord, and the Church after Him, have always seen and judged it, and which no longer distinguishes the true from the false, the good from the bad. The documents of the Council on non-Christian religions, and the practice of the Holy See since the Council as regards false religions, are a striking example, ruinous for the Truth of the Church.

"Human dignity:" badly defined, without its true criterion, which is the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ received through the Church (even when outside the Church), is an endless source of confusion. In that sense, the devils themselves could be worthy. The truth is that man is worthy only insofar as he is really united to Our Lord Jesus Christ by grace and insofar as he is still capable of being so united. He is unworthy to the extent that he is opposed to that grace. That is the way in which all men will be judged by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. There are not two criteria.

To modify that judgment to please the world of error and of sin, to come to an understanding with that world represented by freemasons, communists, socialists and all the false religions, is to ruin the Church completely in what is most precious to her : the Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ "on earth as in heaven." It is to suppress the missionary spirit.

That understanding with the Protestants in Liberal Ecumenism has produced a new Liturgy, equivocal, bastard, which makes true Catholics sick, even if it is sometimes valid. The ruin of the true royal Liturgy of Our Lord has brought about the end of priestly and religious vocations.

The Church cannot allow herself to make any other judgment on the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow except that of Our Lord, which has been kept faithfully for twenty centuries. The documents, "The Church in the Modern World," "Religious Liberty," and "Non-Christian Religions," are the witnesses of this new vision; and all the activity of the 1Ioly See since the Council has been inspired by this change in vision, totally opposed to that of Our Lord and of the Church.

The ills of the Church, now plain to see, known to everybody, affirmed by the Pope himself, and by all the bishops, clerics and faithful, ills which cause the enemies of the Church to rejoice, can but grow worse so long as those at the helm of the Church do not get her back on what has always been her course.

There must be an end to that Liberal Ecumenism which is contrary to the true apostolate and mission of the Church.

Otherwise the forces of evil, finding no resistance, even in the Church, will soon triumph everywhere.

The means advocated by Our Lord Himself is the training of clerics solidly grounded in the Catholic faith, in piety, in devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, zealous apostles filled with love of Truth, which is true Charity.

Asking us to close our seminaries and to adopt the new conciliar and post-conciliar orientation would be to compel us to take part in the destruction of the Church, to sap the authority of the Apostolic See of Rome. It is because we wish to remain faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, that we beg the Holy Father to be faithful to it himself, and not to separate himself from his predecessors, especially the two latest canonized Pope, Saint Pius V and Saint Pius X.

We beg only to take part in the apostolic work of the Church under the authority of the Holy See and the bishops, but not in a spirit of Liberal Ecumenism, which is destroying the Church.



We profess the Catholic Faith integrally and totally as it has been professed and transmitted faithfully and exactly by the Church, the Sovereign Pontiffs and the Councils, in its perfect continuity and homogeneity, without the omission of a single article, especially in what concerns the privileges of the Sovereign Pontiff as defined in Vatican I.

We reject and anathematize all that has been rejected and anathematized by the Church, in particular by the Holy Council of Trent.

We condemn with all the popes of the 19th and 20th centuries Liberalism, naturalism and rationalism in all their forms, as the popes have condemned them.

With them we reject all the consequences of those errors which are called "the modern liberties" and "the new law" as they have rejected them.

It is in the degree in which the texts of Vatican Council II and the post-conciliar reforms are opposed to the doctrine set out by these popes and give free course to the errors they have condemned that we feel ourselves obliged in conscience to have serious reservations about those texts and those reforms.

+Marcel Lefebvre


Chapter 17

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