LEFEBVRE and the
Mayer’s Interview in 30 Days Magazine
is well to place here a excerpt from the interview given by Augustin
Cardinal Mayer, inaugural President of the Ecclesia Dei
Commission, to Stefano Maria Paci of 30 Days magazine (Oct.
1988). It adds some interesting insight as to the perspective
of Rome regarding Dom Gérard’s Declaration, that is, the only
perspective which counts.
When Dom Gérard announced that an agreement had been reached with
Rome, he also said, “no doctrinal or liturgical concession was requested,
and no ban was imposed on anti-Modernist preaching.” The
statement sparked considerable debate. What are the
actual terms of the agreement?
Mayer: Dom Gérard’s statement was not exact.
the Cardinal explains how Dom Gérard was not exact.]
They cannot just accept
the concessions offered by the Protocol and forget the obligations!
[It] required the acceptance of the doctrine contained in
the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (§25); the adoption
of a positive attitude, one open to dialogue, toward the Holy See
regarding those points that could129
cause difficulties; the recognition of the validity of the Sacrifice
of the Mass and of the Sacraments celebrated according to the rites
promulgated by Pope Paul VI and John Paul II; and obedience to the
prescriptions contained in the 1983 Code of Canon Law....In
the same way, one cannot simply approve of the opening toward legitimate130
spiritual and liturgical aspirations in the motu proprio Ecclesia
Dei of last July 2, and neglect the criticism made there of
a false notion of Tradition.
price of this compromise will be to criticize the notion of Tradition
held by Archbishop Lefebvre in order to accept a new notion of
living Tradition which allows all the changes we have witnessed
over the past 30-35 years. I have already noted how this
is not the true life of Tradition.
note also the requirement to accept all the prescriptions of the
1983 Code of Canon Law, including Canon 844 of the 1983
Code of Canon Law (see p.150ff.).
in addition, stated in a letter to the Holy Father, sent on July
8, 1988, that he and his monks wanted “to lay at the
feet of Your Holiness...the testimony of our attachment to the magisterium
of the Church.”
can be understood in two ways: an objective way, i.e., the
teachings; or a subjective way, i.e., the teachers.
If Dom Gérard meant the objective 20-centuries-old magisterium
of the Church, wasn’t his attachment to this magisterium already
very clear by his stand for Tradition? No need for a new
testimony of it. If he meant the objective new teachings
of Vatican II, then beware! If he meant an attachment to
the teachers, i.e., to the Pope as Successor of Peter,
then I think it was sufficiently manifested by the very fact that
he and the other priests and faithful attached to Tradition continued
to recognize the Pope even though they were persecuted by him.
If we recognize the Pope even though he uses all kinds of
ecclesiastical pressures against us because we keep Tradition,
can he doubt our attachment to him the day he returns to Tradition?
If a loyal wife remains faithful to an errant husband even
though he is physically abusive to her, is there any doubt that
such a good woman will remain faithful when her husband comes
to his senses and stops such abuse? “Maledicimur et
benedicimus: we are cursed and we bless, we overcome evil
by good,” as St. Paul says; this is a sign of the Spirit of God.
next question was about Dom Gérard’s condition that “this event
be not considered as a discredit on the person of Archbishop Lefebvre.”
The Cardinal “expressed his understanding for the feelings
of affection and veneration towards Archbishop Lefebvre...but
it was obvious...that they could not follow him in any way on
the path towards schism.” Therefore, the Cardinal was requesting
that they now consider Archbishop Lefebvre as schismatic.
How can such an agreement “not be considered as a discredit”
with such a condition? Isn’t there a contradiction?
on the contrary, Dom Gérard thought that the ceremony of June
30 was not schismatic—he had to, otherwise he committed a mortal
sin by taking part in it—then why accept such a condition?
And why did he write in his letter of July 8, according to
the testimony of Cardinal Mayer: “We want to reassure Your Holiness
that we reject any idea of separating ourselves from the Church
by approving an episcopal ordination conferred without an apostolic
us pray for these monks that they not be led into further compromises,
such as accepting the New Mass. The example of Père Augustin
shows the need for such prayers. Let us support Dom Tomàs
who did not compromise.
Note the conditional tense.
If these aspirations were legitimate, why did the priests
and faithful have to wait so long for this opening? Why to give
it only at the price of criticizing the true notion of Tradition?
Prior of the Monastery of Santa Cruz in Brazil, South America.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109