Archbishop LEFEBVRE and the VATICAN

August 25, 1988

“Some Simple Reflections Which
We Make Without Bitterness”

Fr. Michel Simoulin, Rector of the
Society of Saint Pius X’s seminary in Ecône, Switzerland

Supporters of Dom Gérard began to insist that Archbishop Lefebvre approved Dom Gérard’s decision to sign his accord with Rome and that Archbishop Lefebvre had agreed to say so publicly in the main magazine publication of the Society of Saint Pius X in Europe, Fideliter. When this didn’t happen (since it was a total fabrication), Dom Gérard’s supporters accused the Archbishop of not fulfilling his promises. To these falsehoods Fr. Michel Simoulin, then rector of the seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, felt obliged to answer.

On August 10, 1988, Reverend Fr. Jean-Baptiste (of Le Barroux) wrote to Mother Anne-Marie Simoulin of Fanjeaux:134

We have done nothing without seeking the Archbishop’s advice. He had even agreed to write in Fideliter that he agrees with us. Meanwhile, he has changed his mind. Once again at your house, he agreed to receive us in order to counsel us. Can you permit us the time to comprehend the Archbishop’s attitude?

Charity and friendship oblige me to believe in good faith, but I have the right to think that it may have been abused. How? By whom or by what? I do not know. But what I do know is what I have been witness to, or what the Archbishop just told me, having been consulted on this subject.

  • It is true that Dom Gérard came to consult Archbishop Lefebvre at Ecône before the consecrations and, then, on July 26, while he was travelling toward Fanjeaux.
  • In the course of these conversations, the Archbishop advised Dom Gérard not to sign an agreement, while recognizing that the dangers—although certain—were less for a monastery, all of whose subjects are grouped together. Dom Gérard thus indeed took counsel but he did not follow the advice given.
  • Dom Gérard asked the Archbishop to make a statement in Fideliter to express his approval but the Archbishop declined, since he did not approve of this agreement.
  • In the course of their last interview on July 26, Dom Gérard said nothing to the Archbishop about his letters of July 8 to the Pope and to Cardinal Ratzinger. They have remained secret to this day.
  • While at Fanjeaux, the Archbishop learned by telephone and through the press, of the recognition of Le Barroux. Dom Gérard offered to come to show him the documents but Archbishop Lefebvre refused to receive him by reason of the concealments of July 26.

Such are the facts. I do not want to accuse anyone of lying and there remains for me no other solution than a gigantic lack of understanding, but who will believe it? In any case, let people stop saying that Archbishop Lefebvre gave his approval to this agreement.

The Archbishop does not wish to engage in polemics; we certainly wish to imitate him. But is it forbidden for us to be hurt and wounded by certain passages of the declaration of Dom Gérard? That he chose a different route—that is his perfect right, and within limits, we would have nothing to say—but was it necessary to draw us into it, as if we were his only adversaries?

On two occasions and with no necessity whatever, the famous “denunciation” of May 6 of the Protocol on May 5 is mentioned. Beyond the fact that this appeal added nothing to the declaration, it does nothing but to revive the Vatican thesis, which is intended to put the Archbishop’s intellectual faculties and the sureness of his judgment into doubt. Was it necessary to persist in this direction? Toward what purpose?

Let the letter of May 6 be read and re-read and let someone tell me where the terms are that indicate a refusal, a breaking of the accords of May 5. For myself, I see there only an insistence and a demand for precisions not determined by the agreement.

Moreover, Dom Gérard’s declaration does not concede to Archbishop Lefebvre any merit other than his tenacity. It is perhaps a little short. As for his struggle and the work that he has founded, these are not treated anywhere; it seems of no importance that the Society or the other foundations be covered with disrepute.

The Society thus apparently has neither importance nor existence. Doubtless we are all imperfect but what Dom Gérard says he wants to do, owing to this agreement—is this not truly already being done elsewhere? Has no school child, scout, seminarian, St. Cyrien,135 ever had access to the true liturgy and to the true doctrine in our priories or elsewhere than at Le Barroux—without counting the families, the children, the sick, the elderly, the dying—does he not count all that? Has this not been possible even without an agreement for years now?

“Party spirit.” “A great unified party electing for its head a superior who makes his troops maneuverer at his good pleasure.” “Resistentialism, where suspicion reigns and where the purge makes the law.” “Haste and ill will.” “Internal quarrels, rivalries of clique or of jurisdiction.”

May I ask who is referred to by these unsupported insinuations? Whom is he shooting at thus without designating the target?

While those who have been destroying Tradition for the past twenty-five years are carefully spared, is it not those who, during the same time, have had confidence in the Archbishop and worked with him, who are thus publicly abused? If the retorts come, who will have thrown the first one?

Curiously, the text of the second wish has been modified in the version that Présent published (See text as published in its modified version on p.201). The original text, which was sent to us, said, “…On the contrary, we propose a pact of alliance with all those who are fighting for Tradition....” Several questions came up: Why this modification in the published text? Has Dom Gérard been made to see and understand that it was a little strong?

This “pact of alliance” existed already with no confusion of institutions, in a generous collaboration of those who wanted it. Who has broken it? Is not this “proposition” a little daring and presumptuous? The Archbishop has always declined to be the “head” of a “great, unified party,” and this is, moreover, why he allowed every liberty to Dom Gérard to attempt an accord that he had himself refused without, however, approving of it. (How could he have done so without being illogical?)

Visibly raised up by Providence, Archbishop Lefebvre has responded to requests (including those of Dom Gérard). He has founded an institution and fought with all those who were doing so already—either beside him or following him. He had over them all no other authority than that of his episcopate, of his experience, of his sense, and of his knowledge of the Church and of souls, and of his wisdom. No one ever “elected” him— except in the sense of choosing—and it is confidence which drives his “troops,” not a narrow and elementary militarism, or a strict fanaticism or an unhealthy adulation. It would be to insult many simple and noble souls to suggest that such could be the case. In all this, the Archbishop’s attitude has always remained religious and humble, not intervening except where and when he has been asked to do so.

It is strange that Dom Gérard raises himself up as the center of a new alliance and offers himself thus to those whom the old alliance was uniting—the old one, not repealed—which he has just left. This is a completely different attitude.

I am saying all this without anger and with much sadness—not to stir any controversy, but to defend the Archbishop, my colleagues in the Society, and others upon whom very distressing suspicions have been cast.

I will add that I would have granted that Dom Gérard attempt the experiment of an agreement but not at this moment of our condemnation and not in the terms of his declaration.

In any case, whatever may be my esteem for Dom Gérard, I have— confirmed in this by the present experience—much more esteem for Archbishop Lefebvre, more trust in his judgment, his word, his disinterestedness and his wisdom. May Dom Gérard pardon me for this, but he is wrong in not having enough esteem for the Archbishop.

Rev. Fr. Michel Simoulin
Rector, St. Pius X International Seminary


134. The traditional Dominican convent which supports Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X.

135. Fr. Michel Simoulin is a former captain in the French Army, and a graduate of St. Cyr, the French equivelent of Westpoint Military College in the US. He was formerly Rec¬tor of the Society of Saint Pius X’s seminary in Ecône. In 1997 he was appointed the Society’s District Superior in Italy.

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

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