Volume 2, Chapter
anniversary of Archbishop Lefebvre's ordination to the priesthood
provided the occasion for probably the most striking manifestation
of the strength of traditionalist feeling to have occurred since
the Second Vatican Council; it also indicated the high degree of
respect and personal affection felt for the Archbishop by Catholics
who are faithful to tradition. A Pontifical High Mass was celebrated
in a huge exhibition hall, which proved to be a prudent decision
as between twenty and twenty-five thousand people were present.
It is not exaggerating to claim that had all the French Bishops
hired a hall of the same size, and appealed to their supporters
to be present to show solidarity with the hierarchy in its vendetta
against the Archbishop, they would have been lucky to find it a
quarter full. The size of this congregation, far larger than that
at Lille in August 1976, showed the extent to which support for
Mgr. Lefebvre was growing, despite the campaign waged against him
in all the Catholic media, and the threats of excommunication which
had been circulated from time to time. Le Figaro, a leading
French daily paper, has never been sympathetic to the Archbishop,
but its report on the Jubi1ee gave an accurate impression of the
ceremony. The report appeared in the 24 September 1979 issue, and
was introduced with the following headline:
JUBILEE OF MGR. LEFEBVRE: A SUCCESS
to celebrate the High Mass of his Jubilee, Mgr. Lefebvre, the
traditionalist, chose, yesterday, a far from conventional cathedral:
Pavilion 6 of the Parc des Expositions at the Porte de Versailles,
an immense hall in which the steel girders and neon lights were
hardly conducive to prayer or recollection; but, nonetheless,
throughout the two and a half hour ceremony fervor and emotion
were present at every instant.
come in their thousands – about 20,000 is the estimate, it's difficult
to give an exact figure – from France, all over Europe – Germany,
Belgium, Spain, Italy – to take part in the ceremony. Some had
travelled all night to arrive there in good time and get a place
near the altar. The Parisians were also present in large numbers,
they arrived, for the most part by the metro. They came up the
boulevard Lefebvre by the thousand, whole families, some with
folding chairs to sit upon and all with an old missal from which
holy pictures could be seen protruding. There were many children,
but also teenagers and young adults. They had not been told to
come, they didn't attend Mass at St. Nicholas du Chardonnet, but
went to their local church – but always with profound nostalgia
for the traditional Mass.
have missed this morning's ceremony for anything in the world,"
explained a lady with a broad smile. "For us, today is really
a feast." And they were all there, the husband, the grandmother,
and the two children aged twelve and sixteen. Didn't they feel
that they were disobeying the Pope? "Not for one moment.
the new Mass I feel that my faith is withering. I’ve come here
to restore it," explained the father…
a.m. the "nave" was already full. On either side of
the hall a dozen French and German priests heard confessions of
long queues of the faithful. At the end, on an immense podium,
an altar, sumptuously decorated with brocade, lace, flowers, and
candles, was set out according to the ancient rite. On a red-draped
dais a velvet chair awaited the bishop.
precisely, the orchestra began to play and the choir of St. Nicholas
du Chardonnet broke into “Je suis chrétien.” The ceremony
began with a long procession of priests ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre,
there were 200 of them from France, Germany, Italy and Spain,
but also from the United States and South America.
“It’s a long
time since the capital saw as many soutanes in one place,” joked
a young man acting as an usher.
Lefebvre appeared the hall exploded into applause, and it was
through a sea of human beings who were deeply and visibly moved
– many of them had tears in their eyes – that he moved up the
central aisle giving his benediction…(a synopsis of the sermon
followed in the report, the entire text is provided in this chapter.)
All who had
been present were unanimous in expressing their joy and their
emotion, commenting on details of the ceremony, marvelling at
the thousands who have received Holy Communion. And in the great
hall, now almost deserted, hundreds of the faithful remained,
abstaining from luncheon, remaining on their knees, and praying
with a most moving fervor until the hour of vespers.
to the Archbishop
words were addressed by Father Paul Aulagnier, Superior of the District
of France, Society of St. Pius X, to His grace on the occasion of
his sacerdotal jubilee in Paris, during the banquet which followed
It is not
the role of sons to compliment their father. They may be justly
proud of him but their sentiments must not be expressed in flattering
Thus, I wish,
on this day of your sacerdotal jubilee, to congratulate you by
means of your work: The Priestly Society of St. Pius X.
that all your actions are motivated by a spirit of defiance against
Rome. Permit us then, Monseigneur, today to render testimony to
of the Roman Church inspired you to form the Society:
which you willed not to give any other spirit or any other spirituality
but the spirit and the spirituality of the Church;
which you willed not to impose any rules other than the Roman
Canons, nor any solemn vows other than those of Baptism and of
refused to fill your priests, your nuns, and brothers with a new
spirituality or with new rules in the Church.
That is why
you govern us without ordering us.
That is why
we obey you without fearing you.
It is the
charity of the Church in which you believe – Et nos credidimus
caritati – charity which you have inherited and which establishes
both your authority upon us and our respect for you.
May it please
God, Monseigneur, that you remain as our head for a long time
to come in order that you communicate to us a little of your romanita.
Sermon of His Grace
The Most Reverend Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
On the Occasion of His Sacerdotal Jubilee
23 September 1979
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
My dear brethren,
Allow me, before
beginning the few words I would like to address to you on the occasion
of this beautiful ceremony, to thank all of those who have contributed
to its magnificent success.
I had thought of celebrating my sacerdotal jubilee in a private,
discreet manner at the altar which is the heart of Ecône,
but the beloved clergy of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet, and the beloved
priests who surround me, invited me with such insistence to permit
all those who desired to unite themselves in thanksgiving and my
prayer on the occasion of this sacerdotal jubilee, that I could
not refuse and that is why we are gathered here today – so great
in number, so diverse in origin – having come from America, from
all the European countries, which are yet free, and here we are
united for the occasion of this sacerdotal jubilee.
How then could
I define this gathering, this manifestation, this ceremony? A homage,
a homage to your faith in the Catholic priesthood and in the Holy
I truly believe
that it is for this reason that you have come, in order to manifest
your attachment to the Catholic Church and to the most beautiful
treasure, to the most sublime gift which God has given to man: the
priesthood – and the priesthood for sacrifice, for the Sacrifice
of Our Lord, continued upon our altars.
This is why
you have come, this is why we are surrounded today by these beloved
priests who have come from everywhere and many more would have come
were it not a Sunday, for they are held by their obligations to
celebrate Holy Mass in their parishes – and they have told us so.
I would like
to trace, if you will permit me, some scenes of which I have been
a witness during the course of this half century, in order to show
more clearly the importance which the Mass of the Catholic Church
holds in our life, in the life of priest, in the life of a bishop,
and in the life of the Church.
As a young
seminarian at Santa Chiara, at the French Seminary in Rome, they
used to teach us attachment to liturgical ceremonies. I had, during
that time, the privilege of being a ceremoniare, that which
we call "a master of ceremonies," having been preceded
in this office by no less than His Grace Msgr. Lebrun, the former
Bishop of Autun, and by His Grace Monseigneur Ancel, who is still
the Auxiliary Bishop of Lyon. I was, therefore, a master of ceremonies
under the direction of the beloved Father Haegy, known for his profound
knowledge of the liturgy. We loved to prepare the altar, we loved
to prepare the ceremonies, and we were already imbued with the spirit
of the feast the eve of the day when a great ceremony was to take
place upon our altars. We understood therefore, as young seminarians,
how to love the altar.
dilexi decorem domus tuae et gloriam habitationis tuae."
This is the verse which we recite during the Lavabo at the altar
– “Lord, I have loved the splendor of Thy house and the glory of
This is what
they taught us at the French Seminary in Rome under the direction
of the dear and Reverend Father Le Floch, a well-loved father, who
taught us to see clearly in the events of the time through his commentaries
on the encyclicals of the Popes.
I was ordained
a priest in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart de la rue Royale in Lille,
the 21st day of September 1929 by the then Archbishop Lienart. I
left shortly afterwards – two years afterwards – for the missions
to join my brother who was already there in Gabon and there I began
to learn what the Mass truly is.
knew, by the studies which we had done, what this great mystery
of our Faith was, but I had not yet understood its entire value,
efficacy and depth. Thus I lived day by day, year by year, in Africa
and particularly at Gabon, where I spent thirteen years of my missionary
life, first at the seminary and then in the bush among the Africans,
with the natives.
There I saw
– yes, I saw – what the grace of the Holy Mass could do. I saw it
in the holy souls of some of our catechists. I saw it in those pagan
souls transformed by assistance at Holy Mass, and by the Holy Eucharist.
These souls understood the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Cross
and united themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the sufferings
of His Cross, offering their sacrifices and their sufferings with
Our Lord Jesus Christ and living as Christians.
I can cite
names: Paul Qssima de Ndjole, Eugene Ndonc de Lambrene, Marcel Mable
de Donquila, and I will continue with a name from Senegal, Monsieur
Forster, Treasurer-Paymaster in Senegal – chosen for this delicate
and important function by his peers and even by the Moslems, due
to his honesty and integrity. These are some of the men produced
by the grace of the Mass. They assisted at the Mass daily, communicating
with great fervor and they have become models and light to those
about them. This is just to list a few without counting the many
Christians transformed by this grace.
I was able
to see these pagan villages become Christian – being transformed
not only, I would say, spiritually and supernaturally, but also
being transformed physically, socially, economically and politically;
because these people, pagans which they were, became cognizant of
the necessity of fulfilling their duties, in spite of the trials,
in spite of the sacrifice; of maintaining their commitments, and
particularly their commitment in marriage. Then the village began
to be transformed, little by little, under the influence of grace,
under the influence of the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
and soon all the villages were wanting to have one of the Fathers
visit them. Oh, the visit of a missionary! They wait patiently to
assist at the Holy Mass, in order to be able to confess their sins
and then to receive Holy Communion.
Some of these
souls also consecrated themselves to God: nuns, priests, brothers
giving themselves to God, consecrating themselves to God. There
you have the fruit of the Holy Mass.
Why did all
It is necessary
that we study somewhat the profound motives of this transformation:
of sacrifice is a profoundly Christian and a profoundly Catholic
notion. Our life cannot be spent without sacrifice since Our Lord
Jesus Christ, God Himself, willed to take a body like our own and
say to us: "Follow Me, take up thy cross, and follow Me, if
thou wilt be saved." And He has given us the example of His
death upon the cross; He has shed His blood. Would we then dare,
we, His miserable creatures, sinners that we are, not to follow
Our Lord in pursuit of His Sacrifice, in pursuit of His Cross?
There is the
entire mystery of Christian civilization. There is that which is
the root of Christian civilization: the comprehension of sacrifice
in one's life, in daily life, the understanding of Christian suffering
– no longer considering suffering as an evil, as an unbearable sorrow,
but sharing one's suffering and one's sickness with the sufferings
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in looking upon His Cross, in assisting
at the Holy Mass, which is the continuation of the Passion of Our
Lord upon Calvary.
suffering becomes a joy, and a treasure because these sufferings,
if united to those of Our Lord, if united to those of all the martyrs,
if united to those of all the saints, of all Catholics, of all the
faithful who suffer in this world, if united to the Cross of Our
Lord, they then become an inexpressible treasure, a treasure unutterable,
and achieve an extraordinary capacity for the conversion of other
souls and the salvation of our own. Many holy souls, Christians,
have even desired to suffer in order to unite themselves more closely
to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There you have Christian
are those who suffer for righteousness' sake.
are the poor.
are the meek.
are the merciful.
are the peace-makers.
These are the
teachings of the Cross: it is this that Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches
us by His Cross.
civilization, penetrating to the depths of nations only recently
pagan, has transformed them, and impelled them to desire and thus
to choose Catholic heads of state. I, myself, have known and aided
the leaders of these Catholic countries. Their Catholic peoples
desired to have Catholic leaders so that even their governments
and all the laws of their land might be submissive to the laws of
Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Ten Commandments.
If, in the
past, France – said to be Catholic – had truly fulfilled the role
of a Catholic power, she would have supported these colonized lands
in their new-found Faith. Had she done so, their lands would not
now be menaced by Communism, and Africa would not be what it is
today. The fault does not so much lie with the Africans themselves
as with the colonial powers, which did not understand how to avail
themselves of this Christian Faith which had rooted itself among
the African peoples. With a proper understanding they would have
been able to exercise a brotherly influence among these nations
by helping them to keep the Faith and exclude communism.
If we look
back through history, we see immediately that what I have been speaking
of took place in our own countries in the first centuries after
Constantine. For we, too, are in our origins, converts. Our ancestors
were converted, our kings were converted, and down through the centuries
they offered their nations to Our Lord Jesus Christ and they submitted
their countries to the Cross of Jesus. They willed, too, that Mary
should be the Queen of their lands.
One can read
the admirable writings of St. Edward, King of England, St. Louis,
King of France, of the Holy Roman Emperor St. Henry, of St. Elizabeth
of Hungary, and of all the saints who were at the head of our Catholic
nations and who thus helped to make Christianity.
they had in the Holy Mass! King St. Louis of France served two Masses
every day. If he was travelling and happened to hear church bells
ringing to announce the Consecration, he would dismount to adore
on bended knee the miracle being performed at that moment. There,
indeed, was Catholic civilization! How far from such faith we are
now, how far indeed!
There is another
event which we are bound to mention after these pictures of Christian
civilization in Africa and in our history, that of France particularly.
A recent event – an event in the life of the Church, and an important
event: the Second Vatican Council. We are obliged to declare that
the enemies of the Church know very well, perhaps better than we,
what the value of just one Mass is. There was a poem written on
this subject in which one finds words attributed to Satan, showing
how he trembles each time a Mass, a true Catholic Mass, is celebrated
because he is thus reminded of the memory of the Cross, and he knows
well that it was by the Cross that he was vanquished. The enemies
of the Church who perform sacrilegious masses in the well-known
sects, and the communists, too, know what value is to be had from
one Mass, one true Catholic Mass!
I was recently
told that in Poland the Communist Party, through their "Inspectors
of Religion," keep under surveillance those priests in Poland
who say the Old Mass but leave alone those who say the New. They
persecute those who say the Old Mass, the Mass of All Time. A foreign
priest visiting Poland may say what Mass he pleases, in order to
give the impression of freedom, but the Polish priests who decide
to hold firm to Tradition are persecuted.
I read recently
a document about the PAX movement which was communicated to us in
June of 1963, in the name of Cardinal Wyszynski. This document told
us: "You think we have freedom, you are made to think that
we have it, and it is the priests affiliated with PAX, who are friends
of the communist government, who spread these ideas abroad because
they are propagandists for the government, as is even the progressive
French press. But it is not true, we are not free.”
gave precise details. He said that in the youth camps organized
by the communists the children were kept behind barbed wire on Sundays
to keep them from going to Mass. He told, too, how vacation hide-aways
organized by the Catholic priests were surveyed from helicopters
to see if the youth were going to Mass.
Why? Why this
need to spy upon children on their way to Mass? Because they know
that the Mass is absolutely anti-communist and, how indeed, could
it be otherwise? For what is communism, if not “all for the Party
and all for the Revolution"? The Mass, on the other hand, is
“all for God.” Not at all the same thing is it? All for God!
This is the
Catholic Mass, opposed as it is to the program of parties, which
is a Satanic program. These are the profound reasons behind the
Mass, the Sacrifice.
You know well
that we are all tested, that we are all beset with difficulties
in our lives, in our earthly existence. We all have the need to
know why we suffer, why these trials and sorrows, why these Catholics,
these people, are lying sick in their bed. The hospitals are full
of sick people. Why?
responds: to unite my sufferings to those of Our Lord on the altar,
to unite them on the altar and through that act to participate in
the work of redemption, to merit for myself and for other souls
the joy of heaven.
Now it was
during the Council that the enemies of the Church infiltrated her,
and their first objective was to demolish and destroy the Mass insofar
as they could. You can read the books of Michael Davies, an English
Catholic, who has written magnificent works, which demonstrate how
the liturgical reform of Vatican II closely resembles that produced
under Cranmer at the birth of English Protestantism. If one reads
the history of that liturgical transformation, made also by Luther,
one sees that now it is exactly the same procedure which is being
slowly followed, and under appearances still apparently good and
Catholic. But it is just that character of the Mass which is sacrificial
and redemptive of sin through the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
which they have removed. They have made of the Mass a simple assembly,
one among others, merely presided over by the priest and that is
not the Mass!
So it is not
surprising that the Cross no longer triumphs, because the sacrifice
no longer triumphs. It is not surprising that men think no longer
of anything but raising their standard of living, that they seek
only money, riches, pleasures, comfort, and the easy ways of this
world. They have lost the sense of sacrifice.
What does it
remain for us to do, my dear brethren, if in this manner we deepen
our understanding of the great mystery which is the Mass? Well!
I think I can say that we should have a crusade! A crusade supported
by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the Blood of Our Lord Jesus
Christ, by that invincible rock, that inexhaustible source of grace
which is the Mass.
This we see
every day. You are there because you love the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass. And these young seminarians who are in the seminary –
in Ecône, the United States and Germany – why do they come into
our seminaries? For the Holy Mass, for the Holy Mass of All Time,
which is the source of grace, the source of the Holy Ghost, the
source of Christian civilization, that is the reason for the priest.
It is necessary
that we undertake a crusade, a crusade which is based precisely
upon these notions of immutability, of sacrifice, in order to recreate
Christianity, to re-establish a Christendom such as the Church desired,
such as she has always done, with the same principles, the same
Sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacraments, the same catechism,
the same Holy Scripture. We must recreate this Christendom! It is
to you, my dear brethren, you who are the salt of the earth and
the light of the world, that Our Lord Jesus Christ addressed Himself
in saying: "Do not lose the fruit of My blood, do not abandon
My Calvary, do not abandon My Sacrifice." And the Virgin Mary
who stands beneath the Cross, tells you the same thing as well;
She, whose heart is pierced, full of sufferings and sorrow, yet
at the same time filled with the joy of uniting herself to the Sacrifice
of her Divine Son, she says it to you as well: "let us be Christians,
let us be Catholics!"
Let us not
be borne away by all these worldly ideas, by all these currents
of thought which are in the world, and which draw us to sin and
to hell. If we want to go to heaven we must follow Our Lord Jesus
Christ, we must carry our cross and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ,
imitating Him in His Cross, in His suffering, in His Sacrifice.
Thus, I ask
the youth, the young people who are here in this hall, to ask the
priests to explain to them these things that are so beautiful and
so great, so as to choose their vocations, whatever be the calling
that they may elect – be they priests or religious men and women,
or married: married by the Sacrament of Marriage, and, therefore,
in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and in the Blood of Jesus Christ,
married in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let them comprehend
the greatness of Matrimony, and let them prepare themselves worthily
for it by purity and chastity, by prayer and reflection. Let them
not be carried away by all the passions which engulf the world.
Thus, let this be the crusade of the young who must aspire to the
Let it be,
as well, a crusade for Christian families. You Christian families
who are here, consecrate yourselves to the Heart of Jesus, to the
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Oh, pray together in the family! I know that many of those among
you already do so, but may there always be more and more of you
who do so with fervor! Let Our Lord truly reign in your homes!
I beg you, anything which impedes children from entering your family!
There is no greater gift that the Good God can bestow upon your
hearths than to have many children. Have big families, it is the
glory of the Catholic Church, the large family! It has been so in
Canada, it has been so in Holland, it has been so in Switzerland,
it has been so in France – everywhere the large family was the joy
and prosperity of the Church. There are that many more chosen souls
for heaven! Therefore, do not limit, I beg you, the gifts of God;
do not listen to these abominable slogans which destroy the family,
which ruin health, which ruin the household and which provoke divorce.
And I wish
that, in these troubled times, in this degenerate urban atmosphere
in which we are living, that you return to the land whenever possible.
The land is healthy, the land teaches one to know God, the land
draws one to God, it calms temperaments, characters, and encourages
the children to work.
And if it is
necessary, yes, you yourselves will make the school for your children!
If the schools should corrupt your children, what are you going
to do? Deliver them to the corrupters? To those who teach these
abominable sexual practices in schools? To the so-called "Catholic"
schools run by religious men and women, where they simply teach
sin? In reality, that is what they are teaching to the children,
they corrupt them from their tenderest youth! Are you to put up
with that? It is inconceivable! Rather that your children be poor,
rather that they be removed from this apparent science that the
world possesses, but that they be good children, Christian children,
Catholic children, children who love to pray and who love to work,
children who love the earth which the good God has made.
crusade as well for the heads of the family. You who are head of
your household, you have a grave responsibility in your countries.
You do not have the right to let your country be invaded by socialism
and communism! You do not have the right, or else you are no longer
Catholic! You must fight at the time of elections in order that
you may have Catholic mayors, Catholic deputies, so that France
finally may become Catholic again. That is not mere politics, that
is to wage a good campaign, a campaign such as waged the saints,
such as waged the Popes who opposed Attila, such as waged St. Remi
who converted Clovis, such as waged Joan of Arc who saved France
from Protestantism: If Joan of Arc had not been raised up in France,
we would all be Protestants! It was in order to keep France Catholic
that Our Lord raised up Joan of Arc, that child of 17, maybe 18
years old, who drove the English out of France. That, too, is waging
a political campaign.
this is the sort of politics which we desire, the politics of the
Royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a few moments ago you were
heard to chant, “Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat.”
Are these but words, mere lyrics, mere chants? No! It is necessary
that they be a reality. You heads of families, you are the ones
responsible for such realization, both for your children and for
the generations which are to come. Thus, you should organize yourselves
now – conduct meetings and make yourselves heard, with the object
that France become once again Christian, once again Catholic. It
is not impossible – otherwise one would have to say that the grace
of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer grace, that God is
no longer God, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer Our Lord
Jesus Christ! One must have confidence in the grace of Our Lord.
Our Lord Who is all-powerful. I have seen this grace at work in
Africa – there is no reason why it will not work as well here in
these countries. This is the message that I wanted to tell you today.
And you, dear
priests, who hear me now, you too must make a profound sacerdotal
union to spread this crusade, to animate this crusade in order that
Jesus reign, that Our Lord reign. And to do that you must be holy,
you must seek after sanctity and manifest it to others: this holiness,
this grace which acts in your souls and in your hearts, this grace
which you receive by the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and by
the Holy Mass which you offer, which you alone are capable of offering.
I shall finish,
my dearly beloved brethren, by what I shall call, somewhat, my testament.
Testament – that is a very profound word, because I would want it
to be the echo of the of Our Lord: “Novi et aeterni testamenti,
novi et aeterni testamenti” – it is the priest who recites these
words at the Consecration of the Precious Blood: “Hic est enim
calix Sanguninis mei: novi et aeterni testamenti.” This
inheritance which Jesus Christ gave to us, it is His Sacrifice,
it is His Blood, it is His Cross. And that is the ferment of all
Christian civilization and of all that which is necessary for salvation.
And I say to
you as well: for the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, for the
love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Mary, for the love of the Church, for the love of the Pope, for
the love of bishops, of priests, of all the faithful, for the salvation
of the world, for the salvation of souls, keep this Testament of
Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Keep the Mass of All time!
And you will
see Christian civilization reflourish, a civilization which is not
for this world, but a civilization which leads to the Catholic City
which is Heaven. The Catholic City of this world is made for nothing
else than for the Catholic City of Heaven.
Thus, by keeping
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by keeping His Sacrifice, by
keeping this Mass, this Mass which has been bequeathed to us by
our predecessors, this Mass which has been transmitted from the
time of the apostles unto this day – and in a few moments I am going
to pronounce these words above the chalice of my ordination, and
how could you expect me to pronounce above the chalice of my ordination
any other words but those which I pronounced fifty years ago over
this same chalice – it is impossible! I cannot change the words!
We shall therefore continue to pronounce the words of the Consecration
as our predecessors have taught us, as the Pope, bishops and priests
who have been our instructors have taught us, so that Our Lord Jesus
Christ reign, and so that souls be saved through the intercession
of our Good Mother in Heaven.
In the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Testimony of a Great Catholic Author
The 4 October
1979 issue of the French daily L’Aurore included a dramatic
statement by Michel de Saint-Pierre, one of France's most distinguished
living writers. He is the author of at least twenty-five full-length
books, including some highly acclaimed novels among which is a trilogy
dealing with the present crisis in the Church. He is president of
the Credo association, an organization of conservative Catholics
which is frequently attacked by some traditionalist groups for being
insufficiently hard-line. An account of the Credo Pilgrimage
to Rome is included in the Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre,
Volume I. The eloquence and courage with which Michel de Saint-Pierre
has spoken out in favor of Archbishop Lefebvre makes his testimony
one of the most moving and important ever published. M. de Saint-Pierre
is the co-author of Les Fumées de Satan (The Smoke of
Satan), a 285-page account of the disintegration of the French
Church which was published in 1976. A copy was sent to Pope John
Paul II while he was still Cardinal Wojtyla. The author received
a most gracious personal acknowledgement from the Cardinal dated
23 December 1977. This is of great significance in view of the fact
that the book has already been publicly denounced by the French
Episcopate. The article of 4 October was entitled Vaines querelles
autour d'un jubilé.
Wrangling Surrounding a Jubilee
the difficulties which Mgr. Lefebvre later had to face, gossip was
already spreading among the French clergy, including the hierarchy
concerning the "spirit of independence” and even "rebellion"
of the bishop who, at that time had full authorization from Rome,
not to mention the encouragement he was receiving from Cardinal
Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. Later there
was talk concerning the work at Ecône – "this wildcat seminary."
Since then the calumnies have not ceased. I think I have the right
to discuss this matter in view of the large amount of correspondence
at the end of a conference I had given on the crisis within the
Church, a priest, a professor of theology at one of our Catholic
universities, stood up and before several hundred people yelled
(I can find no other word), "Mgr. Lefebvre in nothing but a
liar!” This offensive priest was dressed in lay clothes without
even a cross on his lapel, and wearing a stylish multi-colored tie.
His face expressed pure hatred.
Now Mgr. Lefebvre
has just celebrated his Jubilee of 50 years in the priesthood. This
celebration was held as a result of the insistent pleas of his friends:
it was the anniversary of 50 years as a priest that we wanted
to celebrate with him. One would have thought that during such a
solemn occasion the anti-Lefebvre fury would have slackened: that
consideration would have been given to the 50-year ministry of a
man who have unceasingly given priests to the Church, not forgetting
the four bishops of whom one is a cardinal.
But no! Cardinal
Marty felt obliged to write a letter to the Secretary of State at
the Vatican denouncing his confrére, Archbishop Lefebvre – his brother
bishop. And our Permanent Council of Bishops, far from being moved
by his 50 years in the priesthood, declared that the celebration
took on the appearance of an act of provocation, an act of defiance.
While recognizing that the Archbishop of Paris had the "right
and even the duty to clarify the position to the faithful,"
Cardinal Casaroli in his letter from Rome, no less recommended that
"this should be done in a charitable and serene manner."
For our part, we are too familiar with the courtesies and practices
in Rome not to realize the importance of this recommendation. For
how many years has the French Episcopate been lacking this charity
and this serenity in its relations with Mgr. Lefebvre!
this and is showing its awareness. As for my own modest yet heavy
personal correspondence, this alone would suffice to show me the
extent of the animosity which still exists in certain religious
circles. Have I not been reproached for attending this Jubilee "as
an honored guest" thus, ostensibly congratulating a bishop
who "struts throughout the dioceses, seeking and stealing seminarians"?
Yes! I was
there among the crowd estimated by those in charge to be 20,000
or 25,000 people. I was there, not as President of the Credo
Society, but as a personal friend of Archbishop Lefebvre, a friendship
which has remained unclouded twenty-five years. And our crowd was
as solid as bronze, united in intense religious emotion, and moved
by gratitude and joy. I cannot see – no, really, I cannot see –
how anyone could blame us for paying honor to friendship that day
by celebrating the glory and majesty of God.
And it must
be noted that in this hall which houses a crowd large enough to
fill four large French cathedrals, there was no reference to "My
buddy God," nor to “Jesus the revolutionary.” The International
was not sung, nor was there any class hatred. All classes of society
were represented there in this huge metal building which for a single
day received the golden chalice and the Host of the poor. We were
kneeling before the Infinite God, gathered in His Name, praying
in His Name for the Church in France, singing the liturgical hymns
in immortal Latin, assisting at the traditional Mass of St. Pius
V which is unjustly forbidden in France, the Mass which the priests
of the Credo Society celebrated last year in Poland with
the blessing of the Cardinals, one of whom is now the reigning Pontiff.
If the French
bishops are weary of looking at their empty churches, their deserted
seminaries, let them at last look in the direction to which John
Paul II is pointing. Yes, Your Excellencies, instead of writing
like pawns to the Secretary of State to voice your complaints, reflect
for a moment, we beg of you. The Gospel announces once and for all
that a good tree produces good fruit. The fruit of Ecône was there
before our eyes: more than 150 seminarians, more than 100 priests
and religious representing at least thirty priories, unparalleled
fervor, and the House of God overflowing with what are still called
“the faithful.” If you, Your Excellencies, finally decide to give
us back the true liturgy, which is the soul of the Church, the true
catechism, and monastic discipline in the seminaries, you, too,
will soon win the battle for Christ.
you must realize that in spite of the frightful blows he has received,
the reward for Mgr. Lefebvre's fifty years in the priesthood was,
on this day – and I witnessed it – the sight of 25,000 enraptured
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