LEFEBVRE and the
Simple Reflections Which
We Make Without Bitterness”
Michel Simoulin, Rector of the
Society of Saint Pius X’s seminary in Ecône, Switzerland
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.
10, 1988, Reverend Fr. Jean-Baptiste (of Le Barroux) wrote to Mother
Anne-Marie Simoulin of Fanjeaux:134
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?
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.
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.
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?
“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?
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?
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?
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?)
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
St. Pius X International Seminary
The traditional Dominican convent which supports Archbishop
Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X.
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
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