An Open Letter to Confused Catholics

His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre


15. The Marriage of the Church and the Revolution

The Revolution, it has been said, expresses “the hatred of all order that has not been established by man, and in which he is not both king and god.” At its origin we find that pride which had already been the cause of Adam’s sin. The revolution within the Church can be explained by the pride of men of our times who believe they are in a new age when man has finally “understood his own dignity,” and has acquired an increased awareness of himself “to the extent that one might speak of a social and cultural metamorphosis whose efforts have had repercussions on religious life.  The very pace of history is becoming so rapid that one is hard-pressed to keep up with it. In short, the human race is passing from a mainly static conception of the order of things to a dynamic and evolutive conception. The consequence is an immense series of new problems which call for new analyses and new syntheses.” These wonder-struck phrases which, with many others of the same sort, occur in the Introduction to Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, are of ill-omen for a return to the spirit of the Gospel. In so much change and transformation, it is hard to see how this can survive.

And what is meant by the statement: “An industrial type of society is spreading little by little, radically transforming our ideas about life in society” except that the writer is prophesying as a certainty what he wanted to see appear: a concept of society that will have nothing in common with the Christian concept expressed in the social doctrine of Church? Presuppositions of that nature can lead only to a new Gospel and a new religion.  And here it is! “The faithful, therefore, ought to work in close conjunction with their contemporaries to try to get to know their ways of thinking and feeling as they find them expressed in current cultures. Let the faithful incorporate the findings of new sciences and teachings and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and thought,  so that their practice of religion and moral behavior may keep abreast of their acquaintance with science and of the relentless progress of technology: in this way they will evaluate and interpret everything with an authentically Christian sense of values.”11 Strange advice, considering that we are commanded by the Gospel to shun perverse doctrines! And let it not be said that these theories can be understood in two ways: the current catechisms understand them in the way Schillebeeckx wanted.  They advise children to listen to what atheists have to say because they have much to learn from them; and besides, if they do not believe in God they have their reasons, and these are worth knowing! And the opening phrase of the first chapter, “Believers and unbelievers agree almost unanimously that all things on earth should be ordained to man as to their center and summit” can also be said to be given a Christian meaning by what follows. It has, nevertheless, a meaning in itself which is exactly what we see being put into effect everywhere in the post-conciliar Church, in the shape of a salvation reduced to economic and social well-being.

For my part, I think that those who accept this proposition as a common basis for dialogue with unbelievers, and couple new theories with Christian doctrine, will simply lose their faith.  The golden rule of the Church has been inverted by the pride of the men of our time.  No one listens any more to Christ’s ever-living and fruitful words, but to those of the world.  This “aggiornamento” condemns itself. The roots of present-day disorder are to be found in this modern, or rather modernist spirit which refuses to recognize the creed, the commandments of God and the Church, the sacraments, and Christian morality as the only source of renewal until the end of the world. Dazzled by “technical progress which will eventually go on to transform the face of the earth and already is embarking on the conquest of space” (Gaudium et Spes 5-1), churchmen who must not be confused with the Church, appear to think that Our Lord could not have foreseen the present-day technological evolution and that consequently his message is no longer appropriate.

The liberals’ dream for the last century and a half has been to unite the Church to the Revolution. For a century and a half also, the Popes have condemned liberal Catholicism. Among their most important documents, we can mention the bull Auctorem fidei by Pius VI against the Council of Pistoia, the encyclical Quanta cura and the Syllabus of Pius IX, the encyclical Immortale Dei of Leo XIII against the new Right, the acts of St. Pius X against the Sillon and modernism, especially the decree Lamentabili, the encyclical Divini Redemptoris of Pius XI against Communism and the encyclical Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII.

All these Popes have resisted the union of the Church with the Revolution; it is an adulterous union and from such a union only bastards can come. The rite of the new mass is a bastard rite, the sacraments are bastard sacraments. We no longer know if they are sacraments which give grace or do not give it. The priests coming out of the seminaries are bastard priests, who do not know what they are.  They are unaware that they are made to go up to the altar, to offer the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to give Jesus Christ to souls.

In the name of the Revolution, priests have been sent to the scaffold, nuns have been persecuted and murdered. Remember the pontoons of Nantes which were sunk out at sea after they had filled them with faithful priests.  And yet what the Revolution did is nothing compared to the doings of  Vatican II,  because it would have been better for those twenty or thirty thousand priests who have abandoned their priesthood and the vows made before God, to have been martyred and sent to the scaffold. They would at least have saved their souls, whereas now they risk losing them.

It is said that amongst these poor married priests many have already been divorced,  many have already applied to Rome for nullity of marriage. Can this be called the good fruit of the Council?  And twenty thousand nuns in the United States and very many in other countries,  have broken the perpetual vows which united them to Jesus Christ to run off and get married. If they had mounted the scaffold they would at least have born witness to their faith.  The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians, but the priests or simple faithful who surrender to the spirit of the world will not bring forth a harvest.  The devil's greatest victory is to have undertaken the destruction of the Church without making any martyrs.

The adulterous union of the Church and the Revolution is cemented by “dialogue.” Our Lord said “Go, teach all nations and convert them.” He did not say “Hold dialogue with them but don't try to convert them.” Truth and error are incompatible; to dialogue with error is to put God and the devil on the same footing. This is what the Popes have always repeated and what was easy for Christians to understand because it is also a matter of common sense. In order to impose different attitudes and reactions it was necessary to do some indoctrinating so as to make modernists of the clergy needed to spread the new doctrine. This is what is called “recycling,” a conditioning process intended to refashion the very faculty God gave man to direct his judgment.

I have witnessed an operation of this sort in my own congregation of which I was for a time the Superior General. The first thing required is to “accept change.” The Council has introduced changes, therefore we also must change. Change in depth, since it is a case of adapting the reasoning faculties to make them coincide with arbitrarily conceived notions.  We can read in a booklet issued by the Archbishop’s Office in Paris, The Faith Word by Word: “The second operation is more delicate and consists of registering the different ways that Christians have of reacting, in these various changes, to the very fact of change.  This registering is important because actual opposition is due more to a spontaneous and sub-conscious attitude in the face of change, than to precise issues involved in the change.”

 “Two typical attitudes can be discerned, while allowing for the possibility of intermediate ones.  The first means accepting a number of novelties one by one as they are imposed. This is the case with many Christians, many Catholics: they give in little by little.

 “Those who take the second attitude accept a total renewal of the expression of the Christian faith at the threshold of a new cultural era, while always taking care to keep close to the faith of the Apostles.”

This last phrase is a typical rhetorical safeguard of the modernists.  They always protest that their attitudes are orthodox, and seek to reassure by little phrases those who would be alarmed at such prospects as “the total renewal of the expression of Christian faith on the threshold of a new cultural era.” But one is already far gone when one accepts such reassurances; and much good it will do to venerate the faith of the Apostles when one has demolished the faith entirely.

A third operation becomes necessary when this second attitude is encountered: “The inquirer cannot help feeling now that his faith is dangerously at risk.  Will it not simply vanish, together with the problems that have brought it to that point? He therefore requires some fundamental assurance which will enable him to go beyond these sterile initial reasonings.”

So all degrees of resistance have been foreseen. What is the “fundamental assurance” that will be given the neophyte in the last resort?  The Holy Ghost! “It is precisely the Holy Ghost who assists believers in the turning points of history.”

The goal is achieved: there is no longer any Magisterium, any dogma, any hierarchy, any Holy Scripture even, in the sense of an inspired and historically certain text. Christians are inspired directly by the Holy Ghost.

The Church then collapses. The recycled Christian becomes subject to every influence and receptive to every slogan; he can be led anywhere, while grasping, if he needs reassurance, at the declaration:  “Vatican II assuredly shows many signs of a change in the terms of the inquiry.”

“The direct and immediate cause (of Modernism) lies in a perversion of the mind,” wrote St. Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi.  Recycling creates a similar mental perversion in those who did not previously suffer from it. The holy Pope also quoted this observation of his predecessor Gregory XVI: “It is a sorry sight to see how far the deviations of human reason will go as soon as one yields to the spirit of novelty; when, heedless of the Apostles’ warning, one claims to know more than one needs to know, and self-confidently seeks for truth outside the Church instead of within it, where it is to be found without the least shadow of error.”12


11 Gaudium et Spes, 62. Translation from Vatican Council II, ed. by A. Flannery, O.P., Fowler Wright Books (1975).

12 Singulari Nos, 1834 A.D.


To Chapter 14

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