LEFEBVRE and the
Statement by Archbishop Lefebvre
Archbishop Lefebvre authored this Letter from Ecône, Switzerland,
on why there was a cessation of negotiations between Rome and
the Society of Saint Pius X after the signing of the Protocol
(May 5, 1988).
would be difficult to understand why the talks ceased if they are
not placed in their historical context.
never wanted to have a break in relations with Conciliar Rome, even
after the first visit of Rome on Nov. 11, 1974, had been followed
by measures which were sectarian and null—the suppression of our
work on May 6, 1975, and the “suspension” in July, 1976—these relations
could only take place in a climate of mistrust.
says that there is no one more sectarian than a Liberal; in effect,
having made a compromise between error and Revelation, he feels
condemned by those who remain in the Truth, and thus if he is in
power, he persecutes them fiercely. This is the case
with us and all those who are opposed to the liberal texts and liberal
reforms of the Council.
want us to have a “guilt complex” in relation to them, but it is
they who are guilty of duplicity.
Thus it was
always in a tense although polite atmosphere that relations took
place with Cardinal Seper and Cardinal Ratzinger between 1976 and
1987, but also with a certain hope that as the auto-demolition of
the Church accelerated, they would end up taking a benevolent attitude
Up until that
time, the goal of the contacts for Rome was to make us accept the
Council and the reforms, and to make us recognize our error.
The logic of events had to lead me to ask for a successor,
if not two or three, to assure the ordinations and confirmations.
Faced with the persistent refusal of Rome, on June 29, 1987,
I announced my decision to consecrate bishops.
On July 28,
Cardinal Ratzinger opened up some new horizons which legitimately
gave us reason to think that finally Rome looked at us more favorably.
No longer was there any question of a doctrinal document
to be signed, or asking for pardon, but an Apostolic Visitor was
finally announced, the Society could be recognized, the Liturgy
would be that of before the Council, the seminarians would retain
the same spirit!
Thus we agreed
to enter into this new dialogue, but on the condition that our identity
would be well protected against liberal influences by bishops taken
from within Tradition, and by a majority of members in the Roman
Commission for Tradition. Now, after the visit of
Cardinal Gagnon, of which we still know nothing, the disappointments
The talks which
followed in April and May were a distinct disappointment to us.
We were given a doctrinal text, the new Canon Law was added
to it, Rome reserved for itself five out of seven members on the
Roman Commission, among them a President (who will be Cardinal Ratzinger)
and the Vice-President.
of a bishop was solved after much hemming and hawing; they insisted
on showing us why we did not need one.
informed us that we would now have to allow one New Mass to be celebrated
at St. Nicolas du Chardonnet. He insisted on the one
and only Church, that of Vatican II.
In spite of
these disappointments, I signed the Protocol on May 5th. But
already the date of the episcopal consecration caused a problem.
Then came the project of a letter asking the Pope for pardon,
which was put into my hands.
I saw that
I was obliged to write a letter threatening to do the episcopal
consecrations to arrive at the date of August 15 for the episcopal
is no longer one of fraternal collaboration and pure and simple
recognition of the Society—not at all. For Rome the
goal of the talks is reconciliation, as Cardinal Gagnon says in
an interview granted to the Italian journal L’Avvenire, meaning
the return of the lost sheep to the flock. This is
what I express in the letter to the Pope on June 2: “The goal of
the talks has not been the same for you as for us.”
And when we
think of the history of relations of Rome with the traditionalists
from 1965 to our own day, we are forced to observe that there has
been an unceasing and cruel persecution to force us to submit to
the Council. The most recent example is that of the
Seminary Mater Ecclesiæ for drop-outs from Ecône, who in
less than two years, have been made to serve the conciliar revolution,
contrary to all promises!
conciliar and Modernist Rome can never tolerate the existence of
a vigorous branch of the Catholic Church which condemns it by its
No doubt we
shall have to wait yet another few years, therefore, for Rome to
recover her Tradition of two thousand years. As for
us, we continue to prove, with the grace of God, that this Tradition
is the only source of sanctification and salvation of souls, and
the only possibility of renewal for the Church.
† Marcel Lefebvre
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109