LEFEBVRE and the
April 15, 1988
Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre
to Cardinal Ratzinger
After having been able to follow the works of the Commission in
charge of preparing an acceptable solution for the problem which
preoccupies us, it seems that with the grace of God, we are coming
closer to an agreement, which makes us very happy.
With this letter I attach the doctrinal declaration, modified slightly
in such a way that I believe that I can sign it; I hope it will
be agreeable to you.
Without doubt, there will be more precisions to add to the canonical
document on the Roman Commission; I would like, at least in the
beginning, to be able to play a part in it in order to facilitate
the solutions for the diverse cases for those who have been at our
side during these last years, and who also wish a happy ending of
On this occasion wouldn’t it be desirable that the possibility37
to use the liturgical books of John XXIII be granted for all the
bishops and all priests?
The prospect of having a successor in the episcopate gives me great
joy and I thank the Holy Father and yourself for it. Only one bishop
will hardly suffice for the heavy work load; wouldn’t it be
possible to have two, or at the least, couldn’t the possibility
of raising its number in the next six months or a year be provided
Eminence, would you express to the Holy Father my deep gratitude
on my behalf and on behalf of all those that I represent. Please
believe in my respectful and fraternal sentiments, in Christo
Archbishop Emeritus of Tulle
Lefebvre, Archbishop Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, as well as the
members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X founded by me:
Promise to be always faithful to the Catholic Church
and the Roman Pontiff, its Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ,
Successor of Blessed Peter in his primacy as head of the College
of bishops. (see Oath of Fidelity, Appendix II).
We declare our acceptance of the doctrine contained
in §25 of the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium
of Vatican Council II on the ecclesiastical magisterium and
the adherence which is due to it.
Regarding certain points taught by Vatican Council
II or concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which
do not appear to us easily reconcilable with Tradition, we pledge
that we will have a positive attitude of study and communication
with the Apostolic See, avoiding all polemics.
Moreover, taking into account what was said in
§3, we declare that we recognize the validity of the Sacrifice
of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention
of doing what the Church does, and according to the rites indicated
in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Rituals
of the Sacraments promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John Paul
Finally, here also taking into account what was
said in §3, we promise to respect the common discipline
of the Church and thus the disciplinary laws contained in the
Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II, without
prejudice to the special discipline granted to the Society by
Note that Archbishop
Lefebvre inserted twice the words “taking into account what
was said in §3,” which stresses the reservations on the
new liturgy and on the Canon Law, through which the liberal ideas
of the Council were implemented.
that “all the ecclesiastical laws” are changed into
“thus the disciplinary laws...” Indeed some laws of
the 1983 Code of Canon Law, such as Canon 844 (on Eucharistic
Hospitality) are in direct opposition with sound Catholic doctrine.
“wide application” of the 1984 Indult called for by
Pope John Paul II in his motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei, does not fulfil
this request, because the priest still depends upon a permission
from modernist bishops to be allowed to have the traditional Mass.
What is needed is to simply reaffirm the Indult granted by St. Pius
V in Quo Primum.
A conservative retired bishop, whom I know, asked the Pope in June
, after the failure of the negotiations, for this alternate
possibility, which was not granted to him.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109