LEFEBVRE and the
May 5, 1988
Protocol of Accord
This protocol contains a doctrinal declaration
which Archbishop Lefebvre judged barely acceptable. Only
two of the seven members of the proposed Roman Commission were
to be upholders of Tradition, which was a grave handicap. Nevertheless,
at that moment, His Grace saw fit to sign this Accord. In
the Protocol Rome recognizes, in principle, that the episcopate
is to be conferred on a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.
Note how vague is left the date of an eventual consecration.
Note also, that since the jurisdiction would come from the
local bishop, the bishop proposed by Rome for the Society would
be a powerless bishop, not able to protect the priests and faithful
from modernist influences.
I. TEXT OF THE DOCTRINAL DECLARATION
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 body of bishops.
We declare our acceptance of the doctrine contained in
§2541 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, 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 II.
Finally, we promise to respect the common discipline of the
Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained
in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul
II, without prejudice to the special discipline granted to the
Society by particular law.
II. JURIDICAL QUESTIONS
the fact that the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X has been conceived
for 18 years as a society of common life—and after studying the
propositions formulated by H. E. Marcel Lefebvre and the conclusions
of the Apostolic Visitation conducted by His Eminence Cardinal Gagnon—
the canonical form most suitable is that of a society of apostolic
Society of Apostolic Life
is canonically possible, and has the advantage of eventually inserting
into the clerical Society of apostolic life lay people as well (for
example, coadjutor Brothers).
to the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, Canons 731-746, this
Society enjoys full autonomy, can form its members, can incardinate
clerics, and can insure the common life of its members.
In the proper
Statutes, with flexibility and inventive possibility with respect
to the known models of these Societies of apostolic life, a certain
exemption is foreseen with respect to the diocesan bishops (cf.
Canon 591) for what concerns public worship, the cura animarum,
and other apostolic activities, taking into account Canons 679-683.
As for jurisdiction with regards to the faithful who have
recourse to the priests of the Society, it will be conferred on
these priests either by the Ordinaries of the place or by the Apostolic
to coordinate relations with the different dicasteries and diocesan
bishops, as well as to resolve eventual problems and disputes, will
be constituted through the care of the Holy See, and will be empowered
with the necessary faculties to deal with the questions indicated
above (for example, implantation at the request of the faithful
of a house of worship where there is no house of the Society, ad
mentem, Canon 683, §2).
will be composed of a president, a vice-president, and five members,
of which two shall be from the Society.42
things it would have the function of exercising vigilance and lending
assistance to consolidate the work of reconciliation, and to regulate
questions relative to the religious communities having a juridical
or moral bond with the Society.
Condition of Persons Connected to the Society
The members of the clerical Society of apostolic life
(priests and lay coadjutor brothers) are governed by the Statutes
of the Society of Pontifical Right.
The oblates, both male and female, whether they have taken
private vows or not, and the members of the Third Order connected
with the Society, all belong to an association of the faithful
connected with the Society according to the terms of Canon 303,
and collaborate with it.
The Sisters (meaning the congregation founded by Archbishop
Lefebvre) who make public vows: they constitute a true institute
of consecrated life, with its own structure and proper autonomy,
even if a certain type of bond is envisaged for the unity of its
spirituality with the Superior of the Society. This
Congregation—at least at the beginning—would be dependent on the
Roman Commission, instead of the Congregation for Religious.
The members of the communities living according to the
rule of various religious institutes (Carmelites, Benedictines,
Dominicans, etc.) and who have a moral bond with the Society:
these are to be given, case by case, a particular statute regulating
their relations with the respective Order.
The priests who, on an individual basis, are morally connected
with the Society, will receive a personal statute taking into
account their aspirations and at the same time the obligations
flowing from their incardination. The other particular
cases of the same nature will be examined and resolved by the
the lay people who ask for pastoral assistance from the communities
of the Society: they remain under the jurisdiction of the diocesan
bishop, but—notably by reason of the liturgical rites of the communities
of the Society—they can go to them for the administration of the
sacraments (for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage,44
the usual notifications must still be given to their proper parish;
cf. Canons 878, 896, 1122).
is room to consider the particular complexity:
Of the question of reception by the laity of the Sacraments of
Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, in the communities of the Society.
Of the question of communities practicing the rule of
such and such a religious institute, without belonging to it.
Commission will have the responsibility of resolving these problems.
the ordinations, two phases must be distinguished:
In the immediate future: For the ordinations scheduled
to take place in the immediate future, Archbishop Lefebvre would
be authorized to confer them or, if he were unable, another bishop
accepted by himself.
Once the Society of apostolic life is erected:
As far as possible, and in the judgment of the Superior General,
the normal way is to be followed: to send dimissorial letters
to a bishop who agrees to ordain members of the Society.
In view of the particular situation of the Society (cf.
infra): the ordination of a member of the Society as
a bishop, who, among other duties, would also be able to proceed
Problem of a Bishop
At the doctrinal (ecclesiological) level, the guarantee
of stability and maintenance of the life and activity of the Society
is assured by its erection as a Society of apostolic life of pontifical
right, and the approval of its statutes by the Holy Father.
But, for practical and psychological45
reasons, the consecration of a member of the Society as a bishop
appears useful. This is why, in the framework of
the doctrinal and canonical solution of reconciliation, we suggest
to the Holy Father that he name a bishop chosen from within the
Society, presented by Archbishop Lefebvre. In consequence
of the principle indicated above (1), this bishop
normally is not the Superior General of the Society, but it appears
opportune that he be a member of the Roman Commission.
Particular Problems to be Resolved (By Decree or Declaration)
Lifting of the suspensio a divinis on Archbishop
Lefebvre and dispensation from the irregularities incurred by
the fact of the ordinations.
Sanatio in radice, at least ad cautelam,
of the marriages already celebrated by the priests of the Society
without the required delegation.
Provision for an “amnesty” and an accord for the houses
and places of worship erected—or used—by the Society, until now
without the authorization of the bishops.
the convenience of our readers, we put here the text of §25 of
Lumen Gentium (including footnotes found in the original),
oftentimes referred to in these documents [Taken from, Flannery,
Austin, O.P., Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar
Documents (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1975),
pp.379-381]. The passage to which Archbishop Lefebvre refers in
his conference of May 10 and which condemns all the modernist
bishops is the following: “This infallibility, however, with which
the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining doctrine
pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive with the deposit
of revelation, which must be religiously guarded and loyally and
courageously expounded.” How many bishops in our days are “religiously
guarding and faithfully expounding” the Deposit of Revelation?
the more important duties of bishops that of preaching the
Gospel has pride of place.46
For the bishops are heralds of the faith, who draw new disciples
to Christ; they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed
with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people
assigned to them, the faith which is destined to inform their thinking
and direct their conduct; and under the light of the Holy Spirit
they make that faith shine forth, drawing from the storehouse of
revelation new things and old (cf. Mt. 13:52); they make
it bear fruit and with watchfulness they ward off whatever errors
threaten their flock (cf. II Tim. 4:14). Bishops who teach
in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as
witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their
part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in
the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere
to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. This loyal
submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special
way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even
when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed,
that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect,
and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably
with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally
either by the character of the documents in question, or by the
frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner
in which the doctrine is formulated.
bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility,
they do, however, proclaim infallibly the doctrine of Christ on
the following conditions: namely, when, even though dispersed throughout
the world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with
Peter's successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative
teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement
that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely.47
This is still more clearly the case when, assembled in an ecumenical
council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges
in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered
to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith.48
however, with which the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church
in defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive
with the deposit of revelation, which must be religiously guarded
and loyally and courageously expounded. The Roman Pontiff, head
of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of
his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful—who
confirms his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk. 22:32)—he proclaims
in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.49
For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be irreformable
by their very nature and not by reason of the assent of the Church,
in as much as they were made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit
promised to him in the person of blessed Peter himself; and as a
consequence they are in no way in need of the approval of others,
and do not admit of appeal to any other tribunal. For in such a
case the Roman Pontiff does not utter a pronouncement as a private
person, but rather does he expound and defend the teaching of the
Catholic faith as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in
whom the Church’s charism of infallibility is present in a singular
way.50 The infallibility
promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when,
together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme teaching
office. Now, the assent of the Church can never be lacking to such
definitions on account of the same Holy Spirit’s influence, through
which Christ's whole flock is maintained in the unity of the faith
and makes progress in it.51
when the Roman Pontiff, or the body of bishops together with him,
define a doctrine, they make the definition in conformity with revelation
itself, to which all are bound to adhere and to which they are obliged
to submit; and this revelation is transmitted integrally either
in written form or in oral tradition through the legitimate succession
of bishops and above all through the watchful concern of the Roman
Pontiff himself; and through the light of the Spirit of truth it
is scrupulously preserved in the Church and unerringly explained.52The
Roman Pontiff and the bishops, by reason of their office and the
seriousness of the matter, apply themselves with zeal to the work
of enquiring by every suitable means into this revelation and of
giving apt expression to its contents;53
they do not, however, admit any new public revelation as pertaining
to the divine deposit of faith.54
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