2, Chapter IX
A number of journals predicted with confidence
the impending excommunication of the Archbishop. The 30 June issue
of the International Herald Tribune claimed that: "Most
observers believe that the Pope must now respond sharply to Mgr.
Lefebvre’s challenge, either by excommunicating him or defrocking
him as a priest, to preserve papal authority." A similar report
was carried in the 30 June edition of the Tribune de Genève.
In England The Times had already published an editorial
(28 June) predicting somewhat pompously: "It is now evident
that the Pope is moving with great reluctance towards the excommunication
of Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, the former Archbishop of Dakar."
The Paris correspondent of The Daily Telegraph had written
in a report published on 27 June: “A warning by the Vatican last
week makes it appear that this will be the last straw for Pope Paul.
He is expected to excommunicate Monsignor Lefebvre, thereby creating
or acknowledging the existence of a schism inside the Church of
Subsequent events proved
these suggestions to be groundless, nevertheless, it is far from
impossible that the threat of excommunication was floated unofficially
by the Vatican in an attempt to intimidate the Archbishop into cancelling
the ordinations at the last minute.
in a Casino
Volume I of the Apologia
included a memorable cri de coeur by Father Henri Bruckberger,
0. P., contrasting the welcome traditionally reserved for newly
ordained priests with that accorded to those from Ecône.1
It was Cardinal Marty who
initiated this contemptible ostracism; at last he has shown himself
in his true colors. While all types of liturgical abuses are tolerated
in our churches; while one church in Paris is used for Moslem
services, it is these young priests alone who find the doors of
their parish churches closed in their faces; young priests of
Jesus Christ, the anointing oils of the ordination still fresh
upon their hands; young priests who bring no threat, but solely
their new powers of Consecration. Ousted from their parish churches,
they are forced to celebrate Mass in secret as during the Reign
of Terror. One blushes with shame at the very thought.
Father Bruckberger's indignation
could hardly have been justified more dramatically than when, on
3 July 1977, one of the priests ordained five days previously, had
no option but to celebrate his "First Mass" in a casino.
Here is the account given in the 4 July 1977 issue of the International
The Most Rev. Marcel
Lefebvre, who is in danger of being excommunicated by the
Catholic Church, helped celebrate Mass today before an estimated
3,000 to 4,000 persons in one of the biggest casinos on the
“We are a little like
the Church of the catacombs,” Archbishop Lefebvre said when
asked if he was upset that the Mass was being celebrated in
the Palais de la Mediterranée. "We are hunted everywhere.
So we are forced to do as the priests during the (French)
Revolution who had to hide to say the Mass. We call to our
friends. Look at this room. It is almost as beautiful as a
The Mass, held five
days after the Archbishop ordained fourteen priests in his
seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, and celebrated by one of them,
the Rev. Jacques Seuillot, took place on the landing at the
top of a great staircase in the main hall leading to the gambling
A closed-circuit television
system was installed to allow those in the back of the hall
to see the ceremony. Observers said the traditionalists chose
the casino, on the Promenade des Anglais, because they wanted
to attract a large crowd.
In a 30-minute homily,
the Archbishop repeated his attacks on Vatican reforms, ecumenism,
“How can one still
know the difference between truth and error?" he asked.
"It is by questioning and denouncing ecumencial conferences,
where one mixes religions and gives the impression that there
is no difference
between Catholicism and Protestantism.
“We are in total confusion.
The holy Catholic Church alone possesses the truth. We are
accused of wanting to
separate from Rome. This is not true. We are Romans. We ask
only of the Pope to be the successor of Peter."
At the conclusion of the
Mass, rightist militants, apparently sympathetic with the Archbishop's
movement, distributed tracts in the casino.2
The Pope has suspended Archbishop
Lefebvre from priestly functions. On his arrival in Nice yesterday,
the Archbishop, 71, said he did not think "that the rupture
was consummated with Rome. But if that does happen, I will take
no account of a decision of excommunication. I don't think the Pope
explicitly said that he would excommunicate me. If ever that happens,
I'll take no account of it."
15 July 1977
in the Catholic Telegraph (U. S. A.)
Anglican bishop 3
and theologian Dr.
Arthur Michael Ramsey, former archbishop of Canterbury, has
been given an honorary doctorate by the Pontifical University
of Salamanca, Spain, in recognition of his theological work
and quest for Christian unity. At the recent ceremonies, Dr.
Ramsey cited the historic meeting between him and Pope Paul
VI in 1966 as the occasion which launched the Anglican- Roman
Catholic study commission.
enemies have continually attempted to discredit him by associating
him with extreme right wing political movements. This tactic was
examined in detail in Vol. I, pp. 256-8. It will suffice to state
here that if right-wing groups distribute literature outside buildings
in which the Archbishop is celebrating Mass or giving a lecture
he is powerless to prevent it. This does not prove that he is fascist
any more than the fact that my own bishop took part in an antiracialist
protest march with communists and homosexuals proves that he is
a communist homosexual.
It should not
be necessary to point out that Dr. Ramsey was not a bishop, simply
a heretical layman-and yet he was awarded an honorary degree by
a pontifical university which would certainly not have permitted
Mgr. Lefebvre, who is a bishop and a Catholic, to set foot on its
campus. This is the Conciliar Church with a vengeance!
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109