LEFEBVRE and the
June 30, 1988
of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Your Excellency, dear Bishop de Castro Mayer,
most dear friends, my dear brethren,
we are gathered for a ceremony which is certainly historic.
Let me, first of all, give you some information.
might surprise you a little, as it did me. Yesterday
evening, a visitor came, sent from the Nunciature in Berne, with
an envelope containing an appeal from our Holy Father the Pope,
who was putting at my disposal a car which was supposed to take
me to Rome yesterday evening, so that I would not be able to perform
these consecrations today. I was told neither for
what reason, nor where I had to go! I leave you to
judge for yourselves the timeliness and wisdom of such a request.
I went to
Rome for many, many days during the past year, even for weeks; the
Holy Father did not invite me to come and see him. I
would certainly have been glad to see him if some agreement would
have been finalized. So here you have the information.
I give it to you simply, as I myself came to know it, through
the letter from the Nunciature.
indications concerning the ceremony and some relevant documents
regarding its significance.
bishops have already sworn in my hands the oath which you find in
the little booklet on the ceremony of consecration which some of
you have. Thus, this oath has already been pronounced,
plus the Anti-Modernist Oath, as it was formerly prescribed for
the consecration of bishops, plus the Profession of Faith.
They have already taken these oaths and this profession
in my hands after the retreat which took place at Sierre during
these last days. Do not, therefore, be surprised if
the ceremony begins with the interrogations on the Faith, the Faith
which the Church asks from those to be consecrated.
I also want
to let you know that, after the ceremony, you will be able to ask
the blessing of the bishops and kiss their rings. It
is not the custom in the Church to kiss the hands of a bishop, as
one kisses the hands of a newly-ordained priest, as you did yesterday.
But the faithful may ask for their blessing and kiss their
have at your disposal at the bookstall some books and fliers which
contain all the elements necessary to help you better understand
why this ceremony, which is apparently done against the will of
Rome, is in no way a schism. We are not schismatics!
If an excommunication was pronounced against the bishops
of China, who separated themselves from Rome and put themselves
under the Chinese government, one very easily understands why Pope
Pius XII excommunicated them.76
There is no
question of us separating ourselves from Rome, nor of putting ourselves
under a foreign government, nor of establishing a sort of parallel
church as the Bishops of Palmar de Troya have done in Spain.
They have even elected a pope, formed a college of cardinals....It
is out of the question for us to do such things. Far
from us be this miserable thought of separating ourselves from Rome!
On the contrary,
it is in order to manifest our attachment to Rome that we are performing
this ceremony. It is in order to manifest our attachment
to the Eternal Rome, to the Pope, and to all those who have preceded
these last Popes who, unfortunately since the Second Vatican Council,
have thought it their duty to adhere to grievous errors which are
demolishing the Church and the Catholic Priesthood.
Thus you will find among
these fliers which are put at your disposal, an admirable study
done by Professor Georg May, President of the Seminary of Canon
Law in the University of Mayence in Germany, who marvelously explains
why we are in a case of necessity:77
necessity to come and help your souls, to help you! Your
applause a while ago was, I think, not a purely temporal manifestation;
it was rather a spiritual manifestation, expressing your joy to
have at last Catholic bishops and priests who are dedicated to the
salvation of your souls, to giving to your souls the Life of Our
Lord Jesus Christ, through good doctrine, through the Sacraments,
through the Faith, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
You need this Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ to go to heaven.
This Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ is disappearing everywhere
in the Conciliar Church. They are following roads
which are not Catholic roads: they simply lead to apostasy.
This is why
we do this ceremony. Far be it from me to set myself
up as pope! I am simply a bishop of the Catholic Church
who is continuing to transmit Catholic doctrine. I
think, and this will certainly not be too far off, that you will
be able to engrave on my tombstone these words of St. Paul: “Tradidi
quod et accepi”—“I have transmitted to you what I have received,”
nothing else. I am just the postman bringing you a
letter. I did not write the letter, the message, this
Word of God. God Himself wrote it; Our Lord Jesus
Christ Himself gave it to us. As for us, we just handed
it down, through these dear priests here present and through all
those who have chosen to resist this wave of apostasy in the Church,
by keeping the Eternal Faith and giving it to the faithful.
We are just carriers of this Good News, of this Gospel which
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us, as well as of the means of sanctification:
the Holy Mass, the true Holy Mass, the true Sacraments which
truly give the spiritual life.
It seems to
me, my dear brethren, that I am hearing the voices of all these
Popes—since Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict
XV, Pius XI, Pius XII—telling us: “Please, we beseech you, what
are you going to do with our teachings, with our preaching, with
the Catholic Faith? Are you going to abandon it?
Are you going to let it disappear from this earth?
Please, please, continue to keep this treasure which we
have given you. Do not abandon the faithful, do not
abandon the Church! Continue the Church! Indeed,
since the Council, what we condemned in the past the present Roman
authorities have embraced and are professing. How
is it possible? We have condemned them: Liberalism,
Communism, Socialism, Modernism, Sillonism.”78
“All the errors
which we have condemned are now professed, adopted and supported
by the authorities of the Church. Is it possible?
Unless you do something to continue this Tradition of the
Church which we have given to you, all of it shall disappear.
Souls shall be lost.”
Thus, we find
ourselves in a case of necessity. We have done all
we could, trying to help Rome to understand that they had to come
back to the attitudes of the holy Pius XII and of all his predecessors.
Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself have gone to Rome, we
have spoken, we have sent letters, several times to Rome.
We have tried by these talks, by all these means, to succeed
in making Rome understand that, since the Council and since aggiornamento,
this change which has occurred in the Church is not Catholic, is
not in conformity to the doctrine of all times. This
ecumenism and all these errors, this collegiality—all this is contrary
to the Faith of the Church, and is in the process of destroying
This is why
we are convinced that, by the act of these consecrations today,
we are obeying the call of these Popes and as a consequence the
call of God, since they represent Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church.
Archbishop, have you stopped these discussions which seemed to have
had a certain degree of success?” Well, precisely
because, at the same time that I gave my signature to the Protocol,
the envoy of Cardinal Ratzinger gave me a note in which I was asked
to beg pardon for my errors. But if I am in error,
if I teach error, it is clear that I must be brought back to the
truth in the minds of those who sent me this note to sign.
“That I might recognize my errors” means that, “if you recognize
your errors we will help you to return to the truth.” What
is this truth for them, if not the truth of Vatican II, the truth
of the Conciliar Church? Consequently, it is clear
that the only truth that exists today for the Vatican is the conciliar
truth, the spirit of the Council, the spirit of Assisi. That
is the truth of today. But we will have nothing to
do with this for anything in the world!
That is why,
taking into account the strong will of the present Roman authorities
to reduce Tradition to nought, to gather the world to the spirit
of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi, we have preferred to withdraw
ourselves and to say that we could not continue. It
was not possible. We would have evidently been under
the authority of Cardinal Ratzinger, President of the Roman Commission,
which would have directed us; we were putting ourselves into his
hands, and consequently putting ourselves into the hands of those
who wish to draw us into the spirit of the Council and the spirit
of Assisi. This was simply not possible.
This is why
I sent a letter to the Pope, saying to him very clearly: “We simply
cannot [accept this spirit and proposals], despite all the desires
which we have to be in full union with you. Given
this new spirit which now rules in Rome and which you wish to communicate
to us, we prefer to continue in Tradition; to keep Tradition while
waiting for Tradition to regain its place at Rome, while waiting
for Tradition to re-assume its place in the Roman authorities, in
their minds.” This will last for as long as the Good
Lord has foreseen.
It is not
for me to know when Tradition will regain its rights at Rome, but
I think it is my duty to provide the means of doing that which I
shall call “Operation Survival,” operation survival for Tradition.
Today, this day, is Operation Survival. If
I had made this deal with Rome, by continuing with the agreements
we had signed, and by putting them into practice, I would have performed
“Operation Suicide.” There was no choice, we must
live! That is why today, by consecrating these bishops,
I am convinced that I am continuing to keep Tradition alive, that
is to say, the Catholic Church.
You well know,
my dear brethren, that there can be no priests without bishops.
When God calls me—this will certainly not be long—from whom
would these seminarians receive the Sacrament of Orders? >From
conciliar bishops, who, due to their doubtful intentions, confer
doubtful sacraments? This is not possible. Who
are the bishops who have truly kept Tradition and the Sacraments
such as the Church has conferred them for 20 centuries until Vatican
II? They are Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself.
I cannot change that. That is how it is.
Hence, many seminarians have entrusted themselves to us,
they sensed that here was the continuity of the Church, the continuity
of Tradition. And they came to our seminaries, despite
all the difficulties that they have encountered, in order to receive
a true ordination to the Priesthood, to say the true Sacrifice of
Calvary, the true Sacrifice of the Mass, and to give you the true
Sacraments, true doctrine, the true catechism. This
is the goal of these seminaries.
So I cannot,
in good conscience, leave these seminarians orphaned. Neither
can I leave you orphans by dying without providing for the future.
That is not possible. It would be contrary
to my duty.
This is why
we have chosen, with the grace of God, priests from our Society
who have seemed to us to be the most apt, whilst being in circumstances
and in functions which permit them more easily to fulfil their episcopal
ministry, to give Confirmation to your children, and to be able
to confer ordinations in our various seminaries. Thus
I believe that with the grace of God, we, Bishop de Castro Mayer
and myself, by these consecrations, will have given to Tradition
the means to continue, given the means to Catholics who desire to
remain within the Church of their parents, their grandparents, of
their ancestors. They built churches with beautiful
altars, often destroyed and replaced by a table, thus manifesting
the radical change which has come about since the Council regarding
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is the heart of the Church
and the purpose of the priesthood. Thus we wish to
thank you for having come in such numbers to support us in the accomplishment
of this ceremony.
We turn to
the Blessed Virgin Mary. You well know, my dear brethren,
you must have been told of Leo XIII’s prophetic vision revealing
that one day “the See of Peter would become the seat of iniquity.”
He said it in one of his exorcisms, called “The Exorcism
of Leo XIII.” Has it come about today? Is
it tomorrow? I do not know. But in any
case it has been foretold. Iniquity may quite simply
be error. Error is iniquity: to no longer profess
the Faith of all time, the Catholic Faith, is a grave error.
If there ever was an iniquity, it is this. And
I really believe that there has never been a greater iniquity in
the Church than Assisi, which is contrary to the First Commandment
of God and the First Article of the Creed. It is incredible
that something like that could have ever taken place in the Church,
in the eyes of the whole Church—how humiliating! We
have never undergone such a humiliation! You will
be able to find all of this in Fr. LeRoux’s booklet which has been
especially published in order to give you information on the present
situation in Rome.
It was not
only the good Pope Leo XIII who said these things, but Our Lady
prophesied them as well. Just recently, the priest
who takes care of the Society priory in Bogota, Colombia, brought
me a book concerning the apparition of Our Lady of “Buen Suceso,”—of
“Good Fortune,” to whom a large church in Quito, Ecuador, was dedicated.
They were received by a nun shortly after the Council of
Trent, so you see, quite a few centuries ago. This
apparition is thoroughly recognized by Rome and the ecclesiastical
authorities; a magnificent church was built for the Blessed Virgin
Mary wherein the faithful of Ecuador venerate with great devotion
a picture of Our Lady, whose face was made miraculously. The
artist was in the process of painting it when he found the face
of the Holy Virgin miraculously formed. And Our Lady
prophesied for the 20th century, saying explicitly that during the
19th century and most of the 20th century, errors would become more
and more widespread in Holy Church, placing the Church in a catastrophic
situation. Morals would become corrupt and the Faith
would disappear. It seems impossible not to see it
I excuse myself
for continuing this account of the apparition, but she speaks of
a prelate who will absolutely oppose this wave of apostasy and impiety—saving
the priesthood by forming good priests. I do not say
that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own
conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines
but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in
the archives of this apparition.
you well know the apparitions of Our Lady at La Salette, where she
says that Rome will lose the Faith, that there will be an “eclipse”
at Rome; an eclipse, see what Our Lady means by this.
closer to us, the Secret of Fatima. Without a doubt,
the Third Secret of Fatima must have made an allusion to this darkness
which has invaded Rome, this darkness which has invaded the world
since the Council. And surely it is because of this,
without a doubt, that John XXIII judged it better not to publish
the Secret: it would have been necessary to take measures, such
steps as he possibly felt himself incapable of doing, e.g.,
completely changing the orientations which he was beginning to take
in view of the Council, and for the Council.
the facts upon which, I think, we can lean.
We place ourselves
in God’s providence. We are convinced that God knows
what He is doing. Cardinal Gagnon visited us 12 years
after the suspension: after 12 years of being spoken of as outside
of the communion of Rome, as rebels and dissenters against the Pope,
his visit took place. He himself recognized that what
we have been doing is just what is necessary for the reconstruction
of the Church. The Cardinal even assisted pontifically
at the Mass which I celebrated on December 8, 1987, for the renewal
of the promises of our seminarians. I was supposedly
suspended and, yet, after 12 years, I was practically given a clean
slate. They said we have done well. Thus
we did well to resist! I am convinced that we are
in the same circumstances today. We are performing
an act which apparently—and unfortunately the media will not assist
us in the good sense. The headlines will, of course,
be “Schism,” “Excommunication!” to their heart’s content—and,
yet, we are convinced that all these accusations of which we are
the object, all penalties of which we are the object, are null,
absolutely null and void, and of which we will take no account.
Just as I took no account of the suspension, and ended up
by being congratulated by the Church and by progressive churchmen,
so likewise in several years—I do not know how many, only the Good
Lord knows how many years it will take for Tradition to find its
rights in Rome—we will be embraced by the Roman authorities, who
will thank us for having maintained the Faith in our seminaries,
in our families, in civil societies, in our countries, and in our
monasteries and our religious houses, for the greater glory of God
and the salvation of souls.
In the Name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The media and especially the Catholic diocesan papers all
conveniently forgot this schism of the national Chinese Church,
which was the occasion at which an excom¬munication was put
for episcopal consecrations without papal mandate. They claimed
that the so called schism of Archbishop Lefebvre was the first since
the schism of Döllinger and the “Old Catholics”
after Vatican I. This claim is inaccurate and their parallel does
not stand in the face of history. However, comparing 1988 with the
Chi¬nese Church would have shown the dissimilarity, as Archbishop
Lefebvre does here.
Please note that many reporters have misunderstood the Archbishop
who did not say “Zionism,” but “Sillonism,”
the error condemned by St. Pius X in 1910. (See Our Apostolic Mandate,
by Pope St. Pius X, available from Angelus Press.)
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109