Archbishop LEFEBVRE and the VATICAN

May 30, 1988

Summary of the Situation

Here is the account of the situation written by the hand of Archbishop Lefebvre, which he gave to the superiors of traditional communities and to some priests with whom he met at the Society’s retreat house of Le Pointet, France. Present were Benedictine monks and nuns (including Dom Gérard), Dominican monks and nuns, Franciscan monks and nuns, Carmelite nuns, Fr. Coache, Fr. André, Fr. Lecareu....

Explanation of the Situation Concerning
What Rome Calls “Reconciliation”

  • Fifteen years of opposition to the doctrinal deviations of the Council and the reforms issuing from this conciliar spirit, to remain faithful to the Faith and the sources of edifying grace.
  • To abide in this fidelity we undergo the persecution of Rome and conferences of bishops, and religious congregations.
  • Being involved in the same struggle, we have helped each other to consolidate and develop the works which Providence has put in our hands and which it has visibly blessed.
  • Providence has permitted us to have a bishop, thanks to which we have had the grace of ordinations and confirmations, an indispensable aid to our fidelity.
  • Fifteen years of traditional ecclesial life, 15 years of blessings, of life with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, prayers, reception of valid and fruitful sacraments, a bishop, priests, brothers, nuns, Christian families united in the Faith. Fervor, generosity, full spiritual and material growth in the midst of trials, crosses, scorn...etc.
  • The bishop formed the moral bond and even the ecclesial bond with the present Modernist Rome.71
  • It must be recognized that the efforts to correct the spirit and reforms of the Council were in vain, as well as requests to officially authorize the “experiment of Tradition.”

However, a vital problem is posed for fidelity to Tradition with the disappearance of the bishop. As Rome refuses to agree to the permanence of Tradition, the necessity of the salvation of souls becomes the (supreme) law.

On June 29, 1987, the decision to create some bishops to ensure the episcopal succession is announced.

On July 14, 1987, a final request is made of Rome, both by letter and in person.

On July 28, 1987, a serious hope of a solution appears. Rome seems frightened by the threat of episcopal consecrations.

The response does not reject the idea of an episcopal succession, but after legal recognition of the Society, the liturgy, the traditional seminaries are authorized. They no longer speak of a doctrinal document. They will return to that. An Apostolic Visitor is envisaged. What would we do?

  • The visit of Cardinal Gagnon is decided on and takes place from November 11 to December 9.
  • The report is given to the Pope on January 5.
  • A Commission is proposed on March 18.
  • A Commission of experts meets April 13-15. Signature of a proposal takes place on April 15.
  • Meeting of the Commission of experts, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Cardinal, May 3 and 4. Signing of the Protocol, May 5, Feast of St. Pius V.
  • Procedure for putting into application. Question of the date of the consecration?Put off sine die (indefinitely). Letter of His Grace to the Pope of May 5, 1988.

The difficulties of putting into application begin:

  • Letter of May 6 to the Cardinal. Threat to proceed with the consecrations on June 30.
  • Response of the Cardinal on May 6.
  • Project of the letter to the Pope asking pardon, the letter of May 5 being too administrative (brought by Fr. du Chalard).
  • Fr. du Chalard confirms to the Cardinal that I intend to consecrate on June 30. The Cardinal asks that I come to Rome.
  • Letter to the Pope and letter to the Cardinal on the subject of the date and number of bishops and membership of the Roman Commission, May 20 and May 24.
  • Meeting with the Cardinal and the secretaries on May 24.
  • The letters are delivered. Then the Cardinal mentions August 15 as the date for the consecration, but does not respond to the other problems. As for the secretaries, they allude to the other problems by saying that the requests can be looked into! The Cardinal gives me another project of a letter to the Pope.
  • On May 28, the Pope confirms the date of August 15.

The atmosphere of these contacts and talks, the reflections of both sides during the conversations, clearly manifests to us that the desire of the Holy See is to bring us back to the Council and to the reforms, also to place us back into the bosom of the Conciliar Church as a religious congregation:

  • The Bureau at Rome will be provisional. (Special note)
  • The Bishop is not necessary, and grudgingly conceded. Delays!
  • The Catholic Church is the Church of Vatican Council II.
  • Acceptance of the conciliar novelties. St. Nicolas! (Cardinal Ratzinger had asked for the celebration of a Mass of Paul VI each Sunday at St. Nicolas, in Paris.)
  • The religious congregations are to be returned to their respective orders, with a special statute!
  • We are given a doctrinal note to be signed.
  • Again we are expected to ask pardon for our faults.

Our reintegration seems to be a political, diplomatic “trump card” to offset the excesses of others.

This poses the following moral problem, in which I do not feel entitled to act without your counsel, since you are directly concerned. (Recall of Fr. Schmidberger from America.)

We must realize that a new situation will appear after the application of the accord.

Let us state the advantages:

  • Canonical normalization of our works. Renewal of relations with Rome for each one of our works.
  • At the same time we retain a certain independence, for the safeguarding of Tradition,
          i)   through the Liturgy.
         ii)   through the formation of our members and the faithful.
        iii)   by relations with the bishops, and the conciliar world.
  • suppression of apprehensions and reticences (to a certain extent).
  • facilitation of relations with certain civil administrations.
  • easier missionary contacts to convert priests and faithful to Tradition!
  • a flow of vocations and the faithful to our works.
  • a bishop consecrated with the approval of the Holy See.

Let us state the disadvantages:

  • a limited but definite dependence on modernist and conciliar Rome through the Roman Commission directed by Cardinal Ratzinger.
  • its principles are the same ones which alienated us from modern Rome.
  • disassociation of our moral unity created around my person, which disappears, partly in favor of Cardinal Ratzinger, and partly in favor of the different superiors general who report directly to Rome, but who can continue to have recourse to the bishop consecrated for Tradition. We risk having less unity and less strength.
  • Relations with the congregations and orders. They are to have a special statute, but in spite of everything a moral dependence, which Rome would like to see transformed as early as possible into a canonical dependence. Danger of contamination.
  • Relations with the conciliar bishops, faithful and clergy. In spite of the broad exemption, as the canonical barriers disappear, there will necessarily be courtesy contacts and perhaps offers of cooperation, for the student unions—superiors’ unions—priests’ meetings— regional ceremonies, etc...This whole world of the conciliar spirit— ecumenical and charismatic.
  • Only one bishop. Less protection, more danger.

Up until now we were naturally protected, the selection was assured by the necessity of a rupture with the conciliar world. From now on, continual caution is necessary, to keep us always on guard against the atmosphere in Rome, against the atmosphere in the dioceses.

This is why we want three or four bishops and the majority in the Roman Commission, but they turn a deaf ear. They have agreed to only one bishop, after continual threats, and delayed the date. They consider it inconceivable that we treat them as a contaminated atmosphere, after all they are granting us.

Thus, a moral problem is posed for all of us.

  • Must we run the risk of contacts with this modernist atmosphere in the hope of converting some souls, and with the hope of fortifying ourselves beforehand with the grace of God and the virtue of prudence, and thus remain legally united to Rome according to the letter, as we are in reality and in spirit?
  • Or must we, before all else, preserve the traditional family to maintain its cohesion and vigor in the Faith and in grace, considering that the purely formal tie with modernist Rome cannot be as important as the protection of this family, representing those who remain faithful to the Catholic Church?
  • What do God and the Holy Trinity, and Our Lady of Fatima ask of us in response to this question?

It is clear that four bishops will fortify us better than just one. The decision must be taken within 48 hours.

Reflect. Pray. Please give me your opinion, even in writing if you wish, and it will be my duty, with the help of the Holy Ghost, and Our Lady the Queen, to make a decision.

Msgr. de Castro Mayer has promised to come June 30, for the episcopal consecrations, with three priests of his diocese.


71. i.e., Rome occupied by modernists.

May 30, 1988

June 2 , 1988

Courtesy of the Angelus Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109

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