Archbishop LEFEBVRE and theVATICAN


November 21, 1974

The Declaration

Detractors say that Archbishop Lefebvre “upped the ante” in his later years prior to the consecration of bishops. We include the following document which is an evident proof to the contrary.

Let us recall the situation. Two Apostolic Visitors, sent from Rome to inspect the Society of Saint Pius X Seminary in Ecône on November 11‑13, 1974, created considerable scandal as a result of the opinions they expressed in the presence of His Grace’s seminarians and professors. These two Visitors from Rome considered it normal and inevitable that there should be married clergy; they did not believe there was an Immutable Truth and they also had doubts concerning the traditional concept of Our Lord’s Resurrection. In reaction to the scandal occasioned by these opinions of the Apostolic Visitors, Archbishop Lefebvre considered it necessary to make clear where he stood in relation to the Rome represented by this attitude of mind. His Grace rejected the views expressed by the Visitors, even if they were currently acceptable in the Rome which they represented in an official capacity.4

In the words of Archbishop Lefebvre: “After telling me of the favorable impression the Seminary had made on the Apostolic Visitors no further reference was made to the Society or to the Seminary, either on February 13, or March 3. It was exclusively a question of my Declaration of November 21, 1974, which had been made as a result of the Apostolic Visitation.”5

Thus, this document is at the very beginning of the clash between Rome and Archbishop Lefebvre and his work. The “stakes” have never changed!

The Declaration

We adhere with our whole heart, and with our whole soul to Catholic Rome, the Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of those traditions necessary for the maintenance of that Faith, to eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth.

Because of this adherence we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo‑Modernist and neo‑Protestant tendencies, such as were clearly manifested during the Second Vatican Council, and after the Council in all the resulting reforms.

All these reforms have, indeed, contributed and still contribute to the demolition of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the destruction of the Holy Sacrifice and the Sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, and to naturalistic and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries, and catechetics, a teaching born of Liberalism and Protestantism many times condemned by the solemn magisterium of the Church. No authority, even the very highest in the hierarchy, can constrain us to abandon or to diminish our Catholic Faith, such as it has been clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s magisterium for 19 centuries.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

Is this not what the Holy Father is repeating to us today? And if a certain contradiction is apparent in his words and actions, as well as in the acts of various Roman Congregations, then we choose what has always been taught, and we turn a deaf ear to the innovations which are destroying the Church.

The lex orandi (law of prayer) cannot be profoundly changed without changing the lex credendi (law of belief). The New Mass is in line with the new catechism, the new priesthood, new seminaries, new universities, and the charismatic or Pentecostal church, all of which are in opposition to orthodoxy and to the age‑old magisterium.

This reform, since it has issued from Liberalism and from Modernism, is entirely corrupt. It comes from heresy and results in heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical. It is thus impossible for any faithful Catholic who is aware of these things to adopt this reform, or to submit to it in any way at all. To ensure our salvation, the only attitude of fidelity to the Church and to Catholic doctrine, is a categorical refusal to accept the reform.

It is for this reason that, without any rebellion, bitterness or resentment, we pursue our work of the formation of priests under the star of the age‑old magisterium, in the conviction that we can thus do no greater service to the holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to future generations.

For this reason we hold firmly to all that has been believed and practiced by the Church of all time, in her faith, morals, worship, catechetical instruction, priestly formation and her institutions, and codified in the books which appeared before the Modernist influence of the late Council. Meanwhile, we wait for the true Light of Tradition to dispel the darkness which obscures the sky of Eternal Rome.

By acting thus we are sure, with the grace of God, and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. Pius X, of remaining faithful to the Catholic and Roman Church, to all the successors of St. Peter, and of being fideles dispensatores mysteriorum Domini nostri Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto.

† Marcel Lefebvre

Rome on the Feast of the Presentation
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Some conservative Catholics may object that it seems illegitimate to distinguish between two Romes, or rather, two tendencies in Rome. However, this distinction of an “eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth” versus a “neo‑Modernist Rome and neo‑Protestant tendencies,” can be put in parallel with a frightening passage of the discourse of Pope Paul VI to the Council Fathers, on the very last day of the Council, December 7, 1965: “At the Council, the Church...dealt with man—with man as he presents himself in reality to the modern world: the living man, the man wholly occupied with self, with man not only making himself the center of all his occupations, but also daring to pretend to be the principle and the last end of all things. The whole phenomenal man, i.e., clad with his innumerable appearances, raised himself in front of the gathering of the Fathers of the Council….The lay and profane humanism at last appeared in its terrible stature, and, in a certain way, has defied the Council. The religion of God Who made Himself man encountered the religion (it is, indeed, one) of man making himself God. What happened? A shock, a fight, an anathema? That could have happened; it did not take place. The old story of the Samaritan was the model of the spirituality of the Council. A boundless sympathy filled it....At least, acknowledge its merit, you modern humanists, who renounce the transcendence of the Supreme Things, and recognize our new humanism: we, more than anyone, have the worship of man.”6

The “religion of God Who made Himself man” is what Archbishop Lefebvre calls the “eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth.” The Vatican’s “new humanism” that “more than anyone has the worship of man,” is what Archbishop Lefebvre calls the “neo-Modernist Rome and neo-Protestant tendencies.”

May I say that the Society of Saint Pius X does not have “the worship of man”! We adore the only One, True God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! We adore Jesus Christ, God made man, but we do not adore man making himself God. With St. Paul, we reject the compromise with modern humanism: “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (II Cor. 6:14‑16). When the Pope returns to the spirit of St. Paul, there will be no need of a “Protocol” nor even the lifting of any penalty. He will see that all these were but a persecution waged by the worshippers of “man making himself God,” against the adorers of “God Who made Himself man.” A clash between these two different attitudes towards modern humanism was thus inevitable.


4.   See Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Vol. I, p.37 (available from Angelus Press).

5. ibid., p.41.

6. Documentation Catholique, 1966, pp.63ff.

Preface to the Second Edition

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