to the First Edition
Much has been written by many people on the subject of the consecrations
of bishops performed by their Excellencies Archbishop Lefebvre and
Bishop de Castro Mayer on June 30, 1988. Many documents were not
available in English at that time, which made it difficult for some
to understand the reasons for this “Operation Survival” of Tradition.
We have made a great effort
to collect all the relevant documents. We present the most complete
dossier now available. A few documents have already been published
in our special issue of The Angelusin July 19882,
but are reprinted here for the sake of continuity in the events.
We refer the reader to this issue for other excellent documents
such as the Declaration of Bishop de Castro Mayer [included in the
second edition], the canonical study of Fr. Rudolf Kaschewsky.
In Part II of this volume we have added a few other documents
surrounding the relations between Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican.
Unfortunately too many conservative Catholics do not want to face
reality, or they dream of a better world than the one we live in.
They may be conscious of the errors taught by the bishops in America,
but do not want to see their source in Vatican II and their support
in Rome. These documents may help them to realize the gravity of
the crisis of the Church, and how this crisis is just the application
of the false principles of Religious Liberty, Ecumenism and Collegiality
introduced at the Second Vatican Council. They will also realize
that, unfortunately, in Rome there is the will to abide with these
false principles, and to impose them on Dom Gérard and those who
want to go with the May 5th Protocol, thus introducing the poison
into the apple.
My comments, boldfaced and in a different typestyle, have been
added either before or after the text of the documents.
The first impression one receives in reading these documents,
other newspapers, commentaries, declarations and private letters,
is that the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre are not on the same
wavelength. Right from the beginning Archbishop Lefebvre takes his
stand on Faith: he wants the continuation of the transmission
of the Deposit of Faith, in all its entirety and purity; he wants
the continuation of the most perfect expression of the Catholic
Faith which is in the traditional liturgy, most apt to give the
graces needed by the faithful for the salvation of their souls;
he did not blind himself, refusing to see the crisis of the Faith
in so many souls poisoned by the conciliar reforms. He was convinced
that the best service he could render to the Church and to the Pope
himself was to fulfil his mission as a successor of the Apostles,
transmitting the Faith to the next generation, without giving up
under the pressures of the modernists who have infiltrated even
the Roman Curia. This is why he asked to provide shepherds, successors
of the Apostles, for the continuation of this mission; no request
was more legitimate. The faithful could see this at the level of
Faith; one wrote to me: “My Catholic sense tells me that Archbishop
Lefebvre has done what had to be done in these strange and most
serious times in the Church, and that he is not opposed to the Pope,
but rather is more united to him than many others; his orthodoxy
in doctrine and Liturgy is impeccable, his break is with Modernism...”
This was a reaction of the sensus fidei.
On the other hand, many of those who have criticized him based
themselves on Church politics. “Could he not have trusted
God a little more and tested the agreement at least for a time?
Then, if Rome did all the dire things that were predicted, it would
have been time enough to risk excommunication.”3
This was not a reaction of Faith, but of Church politics. If there
had been a risk of valid excommunication, Archbishop Lefebvre would
never have done it; it is only because he was convinced that such
an action was necessary from a motive of Faith, for a real necessity
for the good of the Church, and therefore legitimate, that he did
it. Convinced it was good, he did it publicly, not hiding as others
who conferred episcopal consecrations in a completely different
context. Those in the Roman Curia who wanted to please both Archbishop
Lefebvre and the local bishops were at that level too.
Others, even after more than 20 years of being deceived “in the
name of obedience,” still do not realize that “Satan’s masterstroke
is to have succeeded in sowing disobedience to all Tradition through
obedience.” They have not yet learned by experience what St. Peter,
the first Pope, said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” St.
Thomas teaches that obedience is a moral virtue, thus in between
a default (disobedience) and an excess (servility); in two simple
questions of his Summa Theologica, he masterfully exposes
the solution to the dilemma of these souls: IIa IIæ Q.104, A.4:
“Should we obey God in everything? Yes.” A.5:
the subjects obey their superiors in everything? Sed contra
is what is said in the Acts of the Apostles, “we ought to obey God
rather than man.” But sometimes the precepts of the prelates (sic)
are against God. Therefore one must not obey the prelates in everything….Therefore,
one can distinguish three kinds of obedience: one sufficient to
salvation, by which one obeys in the things he is obliged to; a
second one which is perfect, by which one obeys in all lawful things;
a third one that is indiscreet (therefore sinful), by which one
obeys even in the unlawful things.
He also teaches that there are many other virtues more important
than obedience, such as faith, hope, charity, religion...Some have
come to realize that obedience to the local bishop is not a theological
virtue, but they still consider that obedience to the pope is a
theological virtue (one against which there cannot be an excess).
The history of the Church and the lives of the saints show that
this is not true. Since the supreme authority has been given by
Our Lord to Peter in order to transmit the deposit of Faith, the
best obedience to the pope is to do what is necessary for the transmission
of the Faith, especially when so many strive to distort this Faith.
I hope that this book will help the reader to strengthen his Faith
and fight the good fight as St. Paul, who said at the end of his
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept
the Faith. As to the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice
which the Lord, the Just Judge, will render me in that day: and
not only to me, but to them also that love His coming (II Tim. 4:7‑8).
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Faith, “terrible
as an army in array,” lead us in this good fight, knowing that “he
who shall persevere until the end, this one shall be saved” (Mt.
of the Immaculate Conception
Angelus Press, 2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109.
Remnant, Aug. 15, 1988, p.7.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109