following conference was given by Archbishop Lefebvre at Montreal,
Canada in 1982. It demonstrates by personal experience the tragic
corruption of modernism right from the time of Pope Pius XI. The
Archbishop describes the extraordinary influence of Monsignor Annibale
Bugnini in the framing of the New Mass and how his unprecedented
daring brought about the "approval" of this protestantized
liturgy. This account of his personal experiences is the very clear
demonstration of why Archbishop Lefebvre had to disobey so as to
not participate in the self-destruction of the Church. We present
it to our readers to allow them to share a more personal viewpoint
of the Archbishop's battle for the Church and for the Faith.
I'm happy to
remark that every where in the world, everywhere in the Catholic
world, courageous people are uniting together around priests who
are faithful to the Catholic faith and to the Catholic Church, so
as to maintain Tradition, which is the bulwark of our Faith. If
there is a movement as general as this it is because the situation
in the Church is truly serious.
and good priests, some of whom have served in parishes for thirty
years to the great satisfaction of their parishioners, have been
able to beat the insult of being treated as disobedient rebels and
dissidents, it could have only have been so as to maintain the Catholic
Faith. They do it knowingly, following the spirit of the martyrs.
is persecuted by one's own brethren or by the enemies of the Church,
it is still to suffer martyrdom, provided it be for the maintaining
of the Faith. These priests and faithful are witnesses of the Catholic
Faith. They prefer to be considered rebels and dissidents rather
than lose their Faith.
the entire world we are in the presence of a tragic and unheard
of situation, which seems never to have happened before in the history
of the Church. We must at least try to explain this extraordinary
phenomenon. How has it come to pass that good faithful and priests
are obliged to fight to maintain the Catholic faith in a Catholic
world, which is in the process of totally breaking up?
It was Pope
Paul VI himself who spoke of self-destruction within the Church.
What does this term self-destruction mean, if it is not that the
Church is destroying herself by herself, and hence by her own members.
This is already what Pope St. Pius X said in his first encyclical
when he wrote: “Henceforth the enemy of the church is no longer
outside the church, he is now within." And the Pope did
not hesitate to designate those places where he was to be found:
"The enemy is found in the seminaries." Consequently,
the holy Pope St. Pius X already denounced the presence of the enemies
of the Church in the seminaries at the beginning of the century.
seminarians of the time, who where imbued with modernism, sillonism
and progressivism, later became priests. Some of them even became
Bishops and among them were even some Cardinals. One could quote
the names of those who were seminarians at the beginning of the
century and who are now dead but whose spirit was clearly modernist
Pope St. Pius X denounced this division in the Church, which was
to be the beginning of a very real rupture within the Church and
within the clergy.
I am no longer
young. During my whole life as a seminarian, as a priest and as
a Bishop I have seen this division. I saw it already at the French
seminary at Rome where by the grace of God I was able to study.
I must admit that I was not very keen to do my studies in Rome.
I would personally have preferred to study with the seminarians
of my diocese in the Lille Seminary and to become an assistant vicar,
and finally a parish priest in a small country parish.
I longed simply
to maintain the Faith in a parish. I saw myself somewhat as the
spiritual father of a population to which I was sent to teach the
Catholic Faith and morals. But it happened otherwise. After the
First World War my brother was already at Rome, for he had been
separated from the family by the circumstances of the war in the
north of France. Consequently my parents insisted that I go to be
with him. "Since your brother is already at Rome, at the
French seminary, go and join him so as to continue your studies
with him." Thus I left for Rome. I studied at the Gregorian
University from 1923 to 1930. I was ordained in 1929 and I remained
as a priest at the seminary during one year.
FIRST VICTIMS OF MODERNISM
During my Seminary
years tragic events took place, which now remind me of exactly what
I lived through during the Council. I am now in practically the
same situation as our Seminary Rector at the time. Fr. Le Floch.
When I was there he had already been Rector of the French Seminary
at Rome for thirty years. From Brittany, he was a very outstanding
man and as strong and firm in the Faith as Brittany granite. He
taught us the Papal encyclicals and the exact nature of the Modernism
condemned by St. Pius X, the modern errors condemned by Leo XIII
and the liberalism condemned by Pius IX. We liked our Fr. Le Floch
very much. We were very attached to him.
But his firmness
in doctrine and in Tradition obviously displeased the progressive
wing. Progressive Catholics already existed at that time. The Popes
had to condemn them.
Not only did
Fr. Le Floch displease the progressives, but he also displeased
the French government. The French government feared that by the
intermediary of Fr. Le Floch and by that formation, which was given
to the seminarians at the French Seminary in Rome traditional Bishops,
would come to France and would give to the Church in France a traditional
and clearly anti-liberal direction.
For the French
government was Masonic and consequently profoundly liberal and frightened
at the thought that non-liberal Bishops could take over the most
important posts. Pressure was consequently exerted on the Pope so
as to eliminate Fr. Le Floch. It was Francisque Gay, the future
leader of the M.R.P., who was in charge of this operation. He came
to Rome to exert pressure on Pope Pius XI, denouncing Fr. Le Floch
as being, so he said, a member of.’Action Franaise" and a politician
who taught his seminarians to also be members of "Action Franaise.’
This was all
nothing but a lie. For three years I heard Fr. Le Floch in his spiritual
conferences. Never did he speak to us of "Action Franaise."
Likewise people now say to me: "You were formerly a member
of Action Franaise.’” I have never been a member of "Action
were accused of being members of "Action Franaise," Nazis
and fascists and every other pejorative label because we were anti-revolutionary
Thus an inquiry
was made. The Cardinal Archbishop of Milan (Card. Schuster) was
sent to the seminary. He wasn't the least of the Cardinals. He was
in fact a Benedictine of great holiness and intelligence. He had
been designated by Pope Pius XI to make the inquiry at the French
Seminary so as to determine if the accusations of Francisque Gay
were true or not. The inquiry took place. The result was: the French
Seminary functions perfectly well under the direction of Fr. Le
Floch. We have absolutely nothing to reproach the Seminary Rector
with. But this did not suffice.
later a new inquiry was begun, this time with the order to do away
with Fr. Le Floch. The new inquiry was made by a member of a Roman
Congregation. He concluded, in effect, that Fr. Le Floch was a friend
of "Action Franaise," that he was dangerous for the Seminary
and that he had to be asked to resign. This is just what happened.
In 1926 the
Holy See requested Fr. Le Floch to kindly abandon his post as Rector
of the French Seminary. He was overwhelmed with sorrow. Fr. Le Floch
had never been a politician. He was traditional, attached to the
doctrines of the Church and the Popes. In addition he had been a
great friend of Pope St. Pius X, who had had great confidence in
him. It was precisely because he was a friend of St. Pius X that
he was the enemy of the progressive wing.
It was at the
same time that I was at the French Seminary that Cardinal Billot
was also attacked. He was a first class theologian at the time and
remains today well known and studied in our Seminaries. Monseigneur
Billot, Cardinal of the Holy Church, was deposed. The purple was
taken away from him and he was sent away in penance to Castelgandolfo,
quite close to Albano, where the Jesuits have a house. He was forbidden
to leave under pretext of having connections with "Action Franaise."
In fact Cardinal
Billot never belonged to "Action Franaise." He did, however,
hold Naurras in high esteem and had cited him in his theology books.
In the second volume concerning the Church (De Ecclesia), for example,
Cardinal Billot accomplished a magnificent study of liberalism where
he took, in the form of notes, several quotations from Maurras.
This was a mortal sin! This was all they could find to depose Cardinal
Billot. It is not a minor tragedy, for he was one of the great theologians
of his time and yet he was deposed as a Cardinal and reduced to
the state of a simple priest, for he was not a Bishop. (At that
time there were still some Cardinal deacons.) It was already the
PlUS XI UNDERWENT THE INFLUENCE OF THE PROGRESSIVE WING
Pope Pius XI
himself fell under the influence of the progressives who were already
present in Rome. For we see a distinct difference from the Popes
before and after. But nevertheless Pope Pius XI at the same time
wrote some magnificent encyclicals. He was not a liberal. "Divini
Redemptoris," his encyclical against Communism was magnificent.
So also was his encyclical on Christ the King, which established
the feast of Christ The King and proclaimed the Social Kingship
of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His encyclical on Christian Education
is absolutely admirable and remains today a fundamental document
for those who defend Catholic schools.
If on the level
of doctrine Pope Pius XI was an admirable man, he was weak in the
order of practical action. He was easily influenced. It is thus
that he was very strongly influenced at the time of the Mexican
Civil War and gave the Cristeros, who were in the process of defending
the Catholic religion and combating for Christ the King, the order
to have confidence in the government and to put down their arms.
As soon as they had put down their arms they were all massacred.
This horrifying massacre is still remembered today in Mexico. Pope
Pius XI placed confidence in the government who deceived him. Afterwards,
he was visibly very upset. He could not imagine how a government,
which had promised to treat with honor those who defended their
Faith, could have then gone on to massacre them. Thus thousands
of Mexicans were killed on account of their Faith.
the beginning of this century we find certain situations, which
announce a division in the Church. Slowly we arrived at it, but
the division was very definite just before the council.
Pope Pius XII
was a great pope well in his writing as in his way of governing
the Church. During the reign of Pius XII the Faith was firmly maintained.
Naturally the liberals did not like him, for he brought back to
mind the fundamental principles of theology and truth.
But then John
XXIII came along. He had a totally different temperament than Pius
XII. John XXIII was a very simple and open man. He did not see problems
When he decided
to hold a Synod Rome they said to him, "But Holy Father,
a Synod has to be prepared. At least one year is necessary and
perhaps two so as to prepare such a meeting, in order that numerous
fruits be gained and that reforms be truly studied and then applied
so that your diocese of Rome might draw profit from it. All this
cannot be done straight away and in the space of two or three months
followed by two weeks of meetings and then all will be fine. It
is not possible."
yes, yes I know, I know, but it going to be a small Synod. We can
prepare it in a few months and everything will be just fine."
Thus the Synod
was rapidly prepared: a few commissions at Rome, everybody very
busy and then two weeks of meetings and all was over with. Pope
John XXIII was happy his small Synod had been held, but the results
were nil. Nothing had changed in the diocese of Rome. The situation
was exactly the same as before.
DRIFT BEGINS WITH THE COUNCIL
It was exactly
the same thing for the Council. "I have the intention to
hold a Council." Already Pope Pius XII had been asked by
certain Cardinals to hold a Council. But he had refused, believing
that it was impossible. We cannot in our time hold a Council with
2,500 bishops. The pressures that can exercised by the mass media
are too dangerous for us to dare hold a Council. We are liable to
get out of depth. And there was in fact no Council.
But Pope John
XXIII said: "But it’s fine: we don't need to be pessimistic.
You have to look on things with confidence. We will come together
for three months with all the Bishops of the entire world. We will
begin on October 13. Then everything will be over with between December
8 and January 25. Everybody will go home, and the
Council will be over and done with."
And so the
Pope held the Council! Nevertheless it did have to be prepared.
A Council cannot be held off the bat just like a Synod. It was indeed
prepared two years in advance. I was personally named as a member
of the Central Preparatory Commission as Archbishop of Dakar and
president of the West African Episcopal Conference. I therefore
came to Rome at least ten times during the two years so as to participate
in the meetings of the Central Preparatory Commission.
It was very
important, for all the documents of the secondary commissions had
to come through it so as to be studied and submitted to the Council.
There were in this commission seventy Cardinals and around twenty
Archbishops and Bishops, as well as the experts. These experts were
not members of the Commission, but were only present so they could
eventually be consulted by the members.
APPEARANCE OF DIVISION
two years the meetings followed one another and it became clearly
apparent for all the members present that there was a profound division
within the Church itself. This profound division was not accidental
or superficial but was even deeper amongst the Cardinals than amongst
the Archbishops and Bishops. On the occasion of the casting of votes
the conservative Cardinals could be seen to vote in one way and
the progressive Cardinals in another. And all the votes were always
more or less the same way. There was obviously a real division amongst
the following incident in one of my books A Bishop Speaks. I
often mention it because it truly characterizes the end of the Central
Commission and the beginning of the Council. It was during the last
meeting, and we had received beforehand ten documents on the same
subject. Cardinal Bea had prepared a text "De Libertate Religiosa,"
"Concerning Religious Liberty." Cardinal Ottaviani had
prepared another, "De 'Tolerantia Religiosa," .'Concerning
fact the two different titles on the same subject was significant
of two different conceptions. Cardinal Bea spoke of freedom for
all religions and Cardinal Ottaviani of freedom for the Catholic
religion along with tolerance of error and false religions. How
could such a disagreement have been resolved by the Commission?
From the beginning
Cardinal Ottaviani pointed the finger at Cardinal Bea and said,
“Your Eminence, you do not have the right to present this document."
replied, “Excuse me but I have perfectly the right to put together
a document as President of the Commission for Unity. Consequently,
I have knowingly put together this document. Moreover, I am totally
opposed to your opinion."
Thus two of
the most eminent Cardinals, Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy
Office, and Cardinal Bea, former Confessor of Pope Pius XII, a Jesuit
having a great deal of influence on all the Cardinals, who was well
known in the Biblical Institute and responsible for advanced biblical
studies, were opposed on a fundamental thesis in the Church. Unity
for all religions is one thing, that is to say that liberty and
error are placed on the same footing; but liberty of the Catholic
religion along with tolerance of error is something quite different.
Traditionally the Church has always been for the opinion of Cardinal
Ottaviani and not for that of Cardinal Bea, which is totally liberal.
Ruffini, from Palermo, stood up and said; “We are now in the
presence of two confreres who are opposed to one another on a question
which is very important in the Church. We are consequently obliged
to refer to a higher authority."
the Pope came to preside over our meetings. But he was not there
for this last meeting. Consequently the Cardinals requested to vote:
"We cannot wait to go and see the Holy Father. We are going
to vote." We voted. Just about one half of the Cardinals
voted for the opinion of Cardinal Bea and the other half for that
of Cardinal Ottaviani. All those who voted for Cardinal Bea's opinion
were the Dutch, German, French and Austrian Cardinals, and all those
in general from Europe and North America. The traditional Cardinals
were those of the Roman Curia, from South America and in general
those of Spanish Language.
It was a true
rupture in the Church. From this moment I asked myself how the Council
could proceed with such opposition on such important points. Who
would win? Would it be Cardinal Ottaviani with the Cardinals of
Spanish or romance languages or would it be the European Cardinals
and those of North America?
the battle began immediately, from the very first days of the Council.
Cardinal Ottaviani had presented the list of members who had belonged
to the preparatory commissions, leaving full freedom for each to
chose those that he wanted. It was obvious that we could not all
know one another, since each one came for his own diocese. How could
one possibly know the 2,500 Bishops of the world? We were asked
to vote for members of the commissions of the Council. But who could
we chose? We did not know the Bishops from South America nor from
South Africa nor from India. ..
thought that Rome's choices for the preparatory commissions could
help as an indication for the Council Fathers. It was in fact quite
normal to propose these.
arose and said, "We do not accept this way of doing things.
We ask for 48 hours to reflect, that we might know better
those who could make up the different commissions. This is to exert
pressure on the judgement of the Fathers. We do not accept it."
had begun only two days previously and already there was a violent
opposition between the Cardinals. What had happened?
48 hours the liberal Cardinals had already prepared lists made out
from all the countries of the world. They distributed these in the
letterboxes of all the Council Fathers. We had therefore all received
a list proposing the members of such and such a commission; that
is such a bishop and another etc. from different countries. Many
said: "After all why not. I do not know them. Since the
list is already ready we have simply to make use of it." Forty-eight
hours later it was the liberals' list, which was in front. But it
did not receive the two thirds of the votes, which were required
by the Council rules.
What then would
the Pope do? Would Pope John XXIII make an exception to the rules
of the Council or would he apply them? Clearly the liberal Cardinals
were afraid that he might apply them and so they ran to the Pope
and said to him: "Listen, we have more than half the votes,
nearly 60%. You cannot refuse that. We cannot keep going
like this and hold another election. We will never be done with
it. This is clearly the will of the majority of the Council and
we have simply to accept it." And Pope John XXIII accepted.
From this beginning all the members of the Council commissions were
chosen by the liberal wing. It is easy to imagine what an enormous
influence this had on the Council.
I am sure Pope
John XXIII died prematurely because of what he saw at the Council,
although he had thought that at the end of a few months everything
would be done with. It was to be a council of three months. Then
all would say good-bye and go home happy for having met one another
at Rome and for having had a nice little meeting.
that the Council was to be a world of itself, a world of continual
clashes. No text came from the first session of the Council. Pope
John XXIII was overwhelmed by this and I am persuaded that this
hastened his death. It has even been said that on his deathbed he
said: “Stop the Council; stop the Council."
POPE PAUL VI GIVES HIS SUPPORT
TO THE LIBERALS
Pope Paul VI
came along. It is obvious that he gave his support to the liberal
wing. Why was that?
From the very
beginning of his pontificate, during the second Session of the Council,
he immediately named four Moderators. The four Moderators were to
direct the Council instead of the ten Presidents who had presided
during the first Session. The Presidents, one of whom had presided
over one meeting and then the second and then the third, sat at
a table higher than the others. But they were to become honorary
Presidents. The four Moderators became the true Presidents of the
Who were these
moderators? Cardinal Dopfner of Munich was one. He was very progressive
indeed and very ecumenical. Cardinal Suenens, whom the entire world
knows along with his charismatics and who has given conferences
in favor of the marriage of priests, was another. Cardinal Lercaro
who is known for his philocommunism and whose Vicar General had
been enrolled as a member of the Communist party was a third. Finally
there was Cardinal Agagianian, who represented somewhat the traditional
wing, if I can say so.
was a very discreet and self-effacing man. Consequently he had no
real influence on the Council. But the three others accomplished
their task with drums beating. They constantly brought together
the liberal Cardinals, which gave considerable authority to the
liberal wing of the Council.
traditional Cardinals and Bishops were from this very moment put
aside and despised.
When poor Cardinal
Ottaviani, who was blind, started to speak, boos could be heard
amongst the young Bishops when he did not finish at the end of the
ten minutes allocated to him. Thus did they make him understand
that they had had enough of listening to him. He had to stop; it
was frightful. This venerable Cardinal, who was honored throughout
Rome and who had had an enormous influence on the Holy Church, who
was Prefect of the Holy Office, which is not a small function, was
obliged to stop. It was scandalous to see how the traditionalists
Staffa (he has since been named Cardinal), who is very energetic,
was silenced by the Council Moderators. These were unbelievable
OF THE CHURCH
This is what
happened at the Council. It is obvious that all the Council documents
and texts were influenced by the liberal Cardinals and Commissions.
It is hardly astonishing that we have such ambiguous texts, which
favor so many changes and even a true revolution in the Church.
Could we have
done anything, we who represented the traditional wing of the Bishops
and Cardinals? Frankly speaking, we could do little. We were 250
who favored the maintenance of Tradition and who were opposed to
such major changes in the Church as false renewal, false ecumenism,
false collegiality. We were opposed to all these things. These 250
bishops clearly brought some weight to bear and on certain occasions
forced texts to be modified. Thus the evil was somewhat limited.
But we could
not succeed in preventing certain false opinions from being adopted,
especially in the schema on Religious Liberty, whose text was redone
five times. Five times the same opinion was brought forward. We
opposed it on each occasion. There were always 250 votes against.
Consequently Pope Paul VI asked that two small sentences be added
to the text, saying that there is nothing in this text which is
contrary to the traditional teaching of the Church and that the
Church remains always the true and the only Church of Christ.
Then the Spanish
Bishops in particular said: "Since the Pope has made this
statement there is no longer any problem. There is nothing against
tradition." If these things are contradictory then this
little phrase contradicts everything, which is in the texts. It
is a contradictory schema. We could not accept it. Finally there
remained, if I remember well, only 74 bishops against. It is the
only schema, which met such opposition, but 74 of 2,500 is little
the Council. We should not be astonished at the reforms, which have
been introduced since. Since then, everything is the history of
Liberalism. The liberals were victorious within the Council for
they demanded that Paul VI grant them places within the Roman Congregations.
And in fact the important places were given to the progressive clergy.
As soon as a Cardinal died or an occasion presented itself, Pope
Paul VI would put aside traditional Cardinals, immediately replacing
them with liberal ones.
Thus it is
that Rome was occupied by the liberals. This is a fact, which cannot
be denied. Nor can it be denied that the reforms of the Council
were reforms which breathe the spirit of Ecumenism and which are
quite simply Protestant, neither more nor less.
The most serious
of the consequences was the liturgical reform. It was accomplished,
as everybody knows, by a well-known priest, Bugnini, who had prepared
it long in advance. Already in 1955 Fr. Bugnini had asked Msgr.
Pintonello, general Chaplain of the Italian army, who had spent
much time in Germany during the occupation, to translate Protestant
liturgical texts. For Fr. Bugnini did not know German.
It was Msgr.
Pintonello himself who told me that he had translated the Protestant
liturgical books for Fr. Bugnini, who at that time was but an insignificant
member of a liturgical commission. He was nothing. Afterwards he
became professor of liturgy at the Lateran. Pope John XXIII made
him leave on account of his modernism and his progressivism. Hence
surprise, surprise, and he is found again as President of the Commission
for, Liturgical Reform. This is all the same, unbelievable.
I had the occasion
to see for myself what influence Fr. Bugnini had. One wonders how
such a thing as this could have happened at Rome. At that time immediately
after the Council, I was Superior General of the Congregation of
the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and we had a meeting of the Superiors
General at Rome. We had asked Fr. Bugnini explain to us what his
New Mass was, for this was not at all a small event. Immediately
after the Council was heard of the Normative Mass, the New Mass,
the Novus Ordo. What did all this mean?
It had not
been spoken of at the Council. What had happened? And so we asked
Fr. Bugnini to come and explain himself to the 84 Superiors General
who were united together, amongst whom I consequently was.
with much confidence, explained what the Normative Mass would be;
this will be changed, that will be changed and we will put in place
another Offertory. We will be able to reduce the communion prayers.
We will be able to have several different formats for the beginning
of Mass. We will be able to say the Mass in the vernacular tongue.
We looked at one another saying to ourselves: “But it's not possible!"
He spoke absolutely,
as if there had never been a Mass in the Church before him. He spoke
of his Normative Mass as of a new invention.
I was myself so stunned that I remained mute, although I generally
speak freely when it is a question of opposing those with whom I
am not in agreement. I could not utter a word. How could it be possible
for this man before me to be entrusted with the entire reform of
the Catholic Liturgy, the entire reform of the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass, of the sacraments, of the Breviary, and of all our prayers?
Where are we going? Where is the Church going?
General had the courage to speak out. One of them asked Fr. Bugnini:
“Is this an active participation, that is a bodily participation,
that is to say with vocal prayers, or is it a spiritual participation?
In any case you have so much spoken of the participation of the
faithful that it seems you can no longer justify Mass celebrated
without the faithful. Your entire Mass has been fabricated around
the participation of the faithful. We Benedictines celebrate our
Masses without the assistance of the faithful. Does this mean that
we must discontinue our private Masses, since we do not have faithful
to participate in them?"
I repeat to
you exactly that which Fr. Bugnini said. I have it still in my ears,
so much did it strike me: “To speak truthfully we didn't
think of that," he said!
another arose and said: "Reverend Father, you have said
that we will suppress this and we will suppress that, that we will
replace this thing by that and always by shorter prayers. I have
the impression that your new Mass could be said in ten or twelve
minutes or at the most a quarter of an hour. This is not reasonable.
This is not respectful towards such an act of the Church."
Well, this is what he replied: "We can always add something."
Is this for real? I heard it myself. If somebody had told me
the story I would perhaps have doubted it, but I heard it myself.
at the time at which this Normative Mass began to be put into practice,
I was so disgusted that we met with some priests and theologians
in a small meeting. From it came the “Brief Critical Study,” which
was taken to Cardinal Ottaviani. I presided that small meeting.
We said to ourselves: “We must go and find the Cardinals. We
cannot allow this to happen without reacting."
So I myself
went to find the Secretary of State, Cardinal Cicognani, and I said
to him: “Your Eminence, you are not going to allow this to get
through, are you? It's not possible. What is this New Mass? It is
a revolution in the Church, a revolution in the Liturgy."
who was the Secretary of State of Pope Paul VI, placed his head
between his hands and said to me: "Oh Monseigneur, I know
well. I am in full agreement with you; but what can I do? Fr. Bugnini
goes in to the office of the Holy Father and makes him sign what
he wants." It was the Cardinal Secretary of State who told
me this! Therefore the Secretary of State, the number two person
in the Church after the Pope himself, was placed in a position of
inferiority with respect to Fr. Bugnini. He could enter into the
Pope's office when he wanted and make him sign what he wanted.
This can explain
why Pope Paul VI signed texts that he had not read. He told Cardinal
Journet that he had done this. Cardinal Journet was a deep thinker,
Professor at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and a great
theologian. When Cardinal Journet saw the definition of the Mass
in the instruction, which precedes the Novus Ordo, he said: ”This
definition of the Mass is unacceptable; I must go to Rome to see
the Pope." He went and he said: “Holy Father
you cannot allow this definition. It is heretical. You cannot leave
your signature on a document like this." The Holy Father
replied to him (Cardinal Journet did not tell me himself but he
told someone who repeated it to me): ”Well, to speak truthfully
I did not read it. I signed it without reading it." Evidently,
if Fr. Bugnini had such an influence on him it's quite possible.
He must have said to the Holy Father: ”You can sign it".
"But did you look it over carefully". ”Yes, you can go
ahead and sign it." And he signed.
But this document
did not go through the Holy Office. I know this because Cardinal
Seper himself told me that he was absent when the Novus Ordo was
edited and that it did not pass by the Holy Office. Hence it is
indeed Fr. Bugnini who obtained the Pope's signature and who perhaps
constrained him. We do not know, but he had without a doubt an extraordinary
influence over the Holy Father.
A third fact,
of which I was myself the witness, with respect to Fr. Bugnini is
also astonishing. When permission was about to be give for Communion
in the hand (what a horrible thing!), I said to myself that I could
not sit by without saying anything. I must go and see Cardinal Gut
-a Swiss -who was Prefect of the Congregation for Worship. I therefore
went to Rome, where Cardinal Gut received me in a very friendly
way and immediately said to me: "I'm going to make my second-in-
charge, Archbishop Antonini, come that he also might hear what you
have to say."
As we spoke
I said: "Listen, you who are responsible for the Congregation
for Worship, are you going to approve this decree which authorizes
Communion in the hand? Just think of all the sacrileges,
which it is going to cause. Just think of the lack of respect for
the Holy Eucharist, which is going to spread throughout the entire
Church. You cannot possibly allow such a thing to happen. Already
priests are beginning to give Communion in this manner. It must
be stopped immediately. And with this New Mass they always take
the shortest canon, that is the second one, which is very brief"
At this, Cardinal
Gut said to Archbishop Antonini, "See, I told you this would
happen and that priests would take the shortest canon so as to go
more quickly and finish the Mass more quickly."
Cardinal Gut said to me: "Monseigneur, if one were to ask
my opinion (when he said "one" he was speaking of
the Pope, since nobody was over him except the Pope), but I'm
not certain it is asked of me (don't forget that he was Prefect
for the Congregation for Worship and was responsible for everything
which was related to Worship and to the Liturgy!), but if the
Pope were to ask for it, I would place myself on my knees, Monseigneur,
before the Pope and I would say to him: 'Holy Father do not do this;
do not sign this decree.' I would cast myself on my knees, Monseigneur.
But I do not know that I will be asked. For it is not I who command
This I heard
with my own ears. He was making allusion to Bugnini, who was the
third in the Congregation for Worship. There was first of all Cardinal
Gut, then Archbishop Antonini and then Fr. Bugnini, President of
the Liturgical Commission. You ought to have heard that! Alas, you
can now understand my attitude when I am told; you are a dissident
and disobedient rebel.
IN THE CHURCH TO DESTROY
Yes, I am a
rebel. Yes, I am a dissident. Yes, I am disobedient to people like
those Bugninis. For they have infiltrated themselves into the Church
in order to destroy it. There is no other explanation.
Are we then
going to contribute to the destruction of the Church? Will we say:
"Yes, yes, amen'; even if it is the enemy who has penetrated
right to the Holy Father and who is able to make the Holy Father
sign what he wants? We don't really know under what pressure he
did it. There are hidden things, which clearly escape us. Some say
that it is Freemasonry. It's possible. I do not know. In any case,
there is a mystery.
How can a priest
who is not a Cardinal, who is not even a Bishop, who was still very
young at the time and who was elevated against the will of Pope
John XXIII (who had chased him from the Lateran University), how
can such a priest go to the very top without taking any account
of the Cardinal Secretary of State, nor of the Cardinal Prefect
of the Congregation for Worship? How can he go directly to the Holy
Father and make him sign what he wants? Such a thing has never before
been seen in the Holy Church. Everything should go through the authorities.
That is why there are Commissions. Files are studied. But this man
was all powerful!
It was he who
brought in Protestant pastors to change our Mass. It was not Cardinal
Gut. It was not the Cardinal Secretary of State. It was perhaps
not even the Pope. It was him. Who is this man Bugnini? One day
the former Abbot of St. Paul Outside the Walls, a Benedictine who
had preceded Fr. Bugnini as head of the Liturgical Commission, said
to me: "Monseigneur, do not speak to me of Fr. Bugnini.
I know too much about him. Do not ask me about him." I
replied: "But tell me. I must know it. The truth must be
uncovered." It is probably he who asked John XXIII to send
him away from the Lateran University.
All of these
things show us that the enemy has penetrated right within the Church,
as St. Pius X already said. He is in the highest places, as Our
Lady of La Salette announced, and as without a doubt the third secret
of Fatima tells us.
Well, if the
enemy is truly within the Church, must we obey him? "Yes,
for he represents the Pope," is a frequent answer. First
of all we do not know this at all, for we do not know exactly what
the Pope thinks.
I have, all
the same, some personal proofs that Pope Paul VI was very much influenced
by Cardinal Villot. It has been said that Cardinal Villot was a
Freemason. I do not know. There are some strange facts. Letters
of Freemasons addressed to Cardinal Villot have been photocopied.
I do not have the proof of it. In any case, Cardinal Villot had
a considerable influence over the Pope. He concentrated all power
at Rome within his own hands. He became the master much more than
the Pope. I do know that everything had to go through him.
One day I went
to see Cardinal Wright with respect to the Canadian Catechism. I
said to him: "Look at this catechism. Are you aware of those
little books, which are entitled 'Purture'? It's abominable that
children are taught to break away. They must break with their family,
with society, with tradition. ..this is the catechism, which is
taught to the children of Canada with the Imprimatur of Monseigneur
Couderc. It's you who are responsible for catechism in the entire
world. Are you in agreement with this catechism?" "No,
no," he said to me: "This catechism is not Catholic"
-"It is not Catholic! Then immediately tell the Canadian Bishops'
Conference. Tell them to stop and to throw this catechism in the
fire and to take up the true catechism." His answer was:
"How can I oppose myself to a Bishops' Conference?"
I then said:
"It's over and done with. There is no more authority in
the Church. It's over and done with. If Rome can no longer say anything
to a Bishops' Conference, even if it is in the process of destroying
children's Faith, then it's the end of the Church."
That is where
we are now. Rome is afraid of the Bishops' Conferences. These conferences
are abominable. In France the Bishops' Conference has been involved
in a campaign in favor of contraception. The Socialist Government,
which is constantly advertising on the television the slogan: "Take
the pill so as to prevent abortions," got them involved,
I think. They had nothing better to do than push crazy propaganda
in favor of the pill. The cost of the pill is reimbursed for girls
of only twelve years, so as to avoid abortion! And the bishops approve!
Official documents in favor of contraception can be found in the
Tulle diocese bulletin, which is my former diocese, and which bulletin
I continue to receive This came from Bishop Bruneau, a former Superior
General of the Sulpicians. He is supposedly one of the best Bishops
of France. It's like that!
DO I NOT OBEY?
I do? I am told: "You must obey. You are disobedient. You
do not have the right to continue doing what you are doing, for
you divide the Church."
What is a law?
What is a decree? What obliges to obedience? A law, Leo XIII says,
is the ordering of reason to the common good, but not towards the
common evil. This is so obvious that if a rule is ordered towards
an evil, then it is no longer a law. Leo XIII said this explicitly
in his encyclical "Libertas." A law, which is not
for the common good, is not a law. Consequently one is not obliged
to obey it.
lawyers at Rome say that Bugnini's Mass is not a law. There was
no law for the New Mass. It is simply an authorization, or a permit.
Let us accept, for argument's sake, that there was a law, which
came from Rome, an ordering of reason to the common good and not
to the common evil. But the New Mass is in the process of destroying
the Church, of destroying the Faith. It's obvious. The Archbishop
of Montreal, Archbishop Grgoire, in a letter, which was published,
was very courageous. He is one of the rare bishops who dared write
a letter in which he denounced the evils of which the Church of
Montreal is suffering. "We are greatly saddened to see parishes
abandoned by a great number of the faithful. We attribute this,
in great part, to the liturgical reform." He had the courage
to say it.
We are in the
presence of a true plot within the church on the part of the Cardinals
themselves, such as Cardinal Knox, who made that famous inquiry
concerning the Tridentine Latin Mass throughout the entire world.
It was a clear and obvious lie, so as to influence Pope John Paul
II that he might say: "If there are such a small number
who want Tradition, it will fall away by itself. His investigation
was worth nothing." Yet the Pope, at the time that he received
me in audience in November of 1978, was ready to sign an agreement
according to which priests could celebrate the mass they choose.
He was ready to sign that.
But there is
at Rome a group of Cardinals bitterly opposed to Tradition. Cardinal
Casaroli the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Religious
and Cardinal Baggio, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who
has the very important responsibility of nominating bishops, are
amongst them. Then there is the infamous Virgilio Noe who is the
second-in- charge for the Congregation for Worship and who is perhaps
worse even than Bugnini. And then there is Cardinal Hamer, the Belgian
Archbishop who is second in charge of the Holy Office, who comes
from the region of Louvain and is imbued with all the modern ideas
of Louvain. They were bitterly opposed to Tradition. They did not
want to hear us speak about it. I believe that they would have strangled
me if they could.
LEAST LEAVE US LIBERTY
together against me as soon as they know I am making an effort to
obtain from the Holy Father the freedom for Tradition. Just leave
us in peace; just leave us to pray as Catholics have prayed for
centuries; just leave us to continue what we learned in the seminary;
just leave us to continue that which you yourselves learned when
you were young, that is to say the best way to sanctify ourselves.
This is what
we were taught at the Seminary. I taught this when I was a priest.
When I became a bishop I myself said this to my priests, to all
my priests and to all my seminarians. This is what you need to do
to become a saint. Love the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is
given to us by the Church. Be devoted to her sacraments and her
catechism, and especially change nothing. Keep Tradition. Keep to
the Tradition, which has lasted for twenty centuries. It is that
which sanctifies us. It is that which sanctified the saints. But
now all has been changed. This cannot be. Just leave us at least
when they hear this they immediately go to the Holy Father and say
to him: "Concede nothing to Archbishop Lefebvre, grant nothing
to Tradition. Especially do not back down."
are the most important Cardinals, such as Cardinal Casaroli the
Secretary of State the Pope does not dare. There are some Cardinals
who would be rather more in favor of an agreement, such as Cardinal
Ratzinger. It is he who replaced Cardinal Seper who died at Christmas
of 1981. Cardinal Ratzinger was nevertheless very liberal at the
time of the Council. He was a friend of Rahner, of Hans Kung, and
of Schillebeeckx. But his nomination as Archbishop of the diocese
of Munich seemed to open his eyes somewhat. He is now certainly
much more aware of the danger of the reforms and more desirous of
returning to traditional rules, along with Cardinal Palazzini who
is in charge of the Congregation for Beatifications and Cardinal
Oddi who is in charge of the Congregation for the Clergy. These
three cardinals would be in favor of allowing us freedom. But the
others have still a great deal of influence over the Holy Father...
I was at Rome
five weeks ago, so as to see Cardinal Ratzinger who was named by
the Pope to replace Cardinal Seper as a personal intermediary for
relations with the Society and myself. Cardinal Seper had been named
on the occasion of the audience, which Pope John Paul II granted
me. The Pope had made Cardinal Seper come and had said to him: "Your
Eminence, you will have the job of maintaining relations between
Archbishop Lefebvre and myself. You will be my intermediary."
Now he has named Cardinal Ratzinger.
I went to see
him and I spoke with him during an hour and three quarters. Certainly
Cardinal Ratzinger seems more positive and more willing to come
to a good solution. The only difficulty, which remains rather troublesome,
is the Mass. Ultimately it has always been a question of the Mass,
right from the beginning.
For they know
very well that I am not against the Council. There are some things,
which I cannot accept in the Council. I did not sign the schema
on Religious Liberty. I did not sign the schema on the Church in
the modern world. But it cannot be said that I am against the Council.
These are things, which cannot be accepted because they are contrary
to Tradition. This ought not to upset them too much, since the Pope
himself said: "The Council must be looked at in the light
of Tradition." If the Council is to be accepted in the
light of Tradition I am not at all upset.
I will readily
sign this, because everything, which is contrary to Tradition, is
clearly to be rejected. During the audience, which the Pope granted
me (-on November 18, 1978 - Ed.),, he asked me: "Are you
ready to sign this formula?” I replied: "You yourself
used it and I am ready to sign it." Then he said: "Then
there are no doctrinal differences between us? " I replied:
"I hope not." - "Now what problems remain? Do
you accept the Pope?" - "Of course we recognize the Pope
and we pray for the Pope in our Seminaries. Ours are perhaps the
only seminaries in the world where the Pope is prayed for. We have
a great deal of respect for the Pope. Each time the Pope has asked
me to come I have always come. But there is a difficulty
concerning the liturgy,” I said to him, “which is truly very
important. The new liturgy is in the process of destroying the Church
and the Seminaries. This is a very important question.” – “But not
at all. This is but a disciplinary question. It is not very serious
at all. If this is the only problem. I believe that it can be fixed
And the Pope
called Cardinal Seper, who came immediately. If he had not come
I believe that the Pope would have been ready to sign an agreement.
Cardinal Seper came, and the Pope said to him: “I believe that
it should not be so difficult to make an agreement with Archbishop
Lefebvre. I believe that we can come to an agreement. There is just
the question of the liturgy which is a little thorny.” – “But, concede
nothing to Archbishop Lefebvre,” cried out the Cardinal.
“They make of the Tridentine Mass a flag.” – “A flag?”
I said. “But of course the holy mass is the flag of our Faith,
the ‘mysterium fidei.’ It is the great mystery of our
Faith. It is obvious that it is our flag, for it is the expression
of our Faith.”
This made a
profound impression on the Holy Father, who appeared to change almost
immediately. In my opinion this showed that the Pope is not a strong
man. If he had been a strong man he would have said: "It
is I who am going to decide this matter. We are going to fix things
up." But no. Immediately he became as if were afraid. He
became fearful, and when he left his office he said to Cardinal
Seper: "You can speak together right now. You can try to
make an arrangement with Arch- bishop Lefebvre. You can stay here.
But I am obliged to go and see Cardinal Baggio. He has very many
files to show me concerning Bishops. I must leave." As
he left he said to me: "Stop, Monseigneur, stop." He
was transformed. In a few minutes he had completely changed.
It was during
this audience that I had shown him a letter that I had received
from a Polish Bishop. He had written to me a year beforehand in
order to congratulate me for the Seminary I had founded at Econe
and for the priests that I was forming. He wished that I maintain
the old Mass with all its Tradition. He added that he was not the
only one. We are several Bishops who admire you, who admire your
Seminary, the formation that you give to your priests and the Tradition
that you maintain within the Church. For we are obliged to use the
new liturgy, which makes our faithful lose the Faith.
That is what
the Polish Bishop said. I took this letter with me when I went to
see the Holy Father, saying to myself: "He will surely speak
to me of Poland." I was not wrong. He said to me: "But
you know, in Poland all is going very well. Why do you not accept
the reforms? In Poland there are no problems. People are simply
sorry to have lost the Latin. We were very attached to Latin, because
it bound us to Rome and we are very Roman. It is a pity, but what
can I do? There is no longer any Latin in the Seminaries nor in
the Breviary nor in the Mass. There is no more Latin. It's quite
unfortunate, but it's just like that. You see, in Poland these reforms
were made and they did not create any difficulty. Our seminaries
are full, and our Churches are full."
I said to the
Holy Father: ”Allow me to show you a letter I received from Poland."
I showed it to him. When he saw the name of the Bishop he said:
"Oh, this is the greatest of the communists' enemies."
-"It's a good reference," I said. The Pope read the
letter carefully. I watched his face in order to see how he would
react to those words which were twice repeated in the letter: "We
are obliged to use the liturgical reform which makes our faithful
lose the Faith." Obviously the Pope could not accept this.
At the end he said to me: "Did you receive this letter just
like that? " – “Yes, this is a photocopy that I bring
to you." - "It must be a fake," he replied.
I say? I could no longer say anything. The Pope said to me: "You
know, the Communists are very cunning in their efforts to provoke
divisions among the Bishops." So according to him this
was a letter fabricated by the Communists and then sent to me. I
am very doubtful about this. This letter was posted in Austria,
for I imagine that the author was afraid that the Communists would
intercept it and that it would not arrive. That is why he posted
it in Austria. I replied to the Bishop but I heard nothing more
All this is
to say that I think that there are even in Poland profound divisions.
Moreover, there have always been divisions between the peace priests
and those who wish to hold fast to Tradition. This has been tragic
behind the iron curtain.
COMMUNIST INFLUENCE ON ROME
You ought to
read the book "Moscow and the Vatican," by the
Jesuit, Father Lepidi. It is extraordinary. It shows the influence
that the Communists had in Rome, and how they were responsible for
the nomination of Bishops and even of two Cardinals: Cardinal Lekai
and Cardinal Tomaseck. Cardinal Lekai, was the successor of Cardinal
Mindszenty, and Cardinal Tomaseck was the successor of Cardinal
Beran. Both Cardinal Mindszenty and Cardinal Beran were heroes and
martyrs for the Faith. They were replaced by peace priests who were
determined above everything else to come to an understanding with
the Communist government who persecuted traditional priests. These
traditional priests went secretly to baptize in the countryside
or to secretly catechize so as to continue their work as pastors
in the Catholic Church, and yet they were persecuted by their Bishops,
who said to them: "You do not have the right not to respect
the rules of the Communist government. You do us a disfavor by acting
against its laws.”
But these priests
were ready to give their life so as to keep the Faith of children,
so as to keep Faith in families, and so as to give sacraments to
those who had need of them. Obviously in these countries one had
always to ask for authorizations, if one wanted to carry the Blessed
Sacrament to a hospital or to do anything at all. As soon as they
left their sacristy these priests were obliged to ask the Communist
party if it authorized them to do this or that. This was impossible.
People died without the sacraments. Children were no longer educated
in a Christian way. So the priests had to do these things in secret.
If they were caught it was often because the Bishops themselves
persecuted them. It's frightening.
Wyszynski nor Cardinal Slipyi nor Cardinal Mindszenty nor Cardinal
Beran would have done such things as these. They, to the contrary,
encouraged good priests, saying to them: "Go ahead, go ahead.
If you are put into prison you will have done your duty as a priest.
If you must die martyrs then you will be martyrs.”
how much influence they had on Rome. We have great difficulty in
imagining it. We cannot even believe it.
I have never
been against the Pope. I have never said that the Pope is not the
Pope. I am absolutely for the Pope, for the successor of Peter.
I do not want to separate myself from Rome. But I am against modernism,
progressivism, and all the bad and destructive influences, which
Protestantism has had via the reforms. I am against all those reforms,
which poison us and poison the life of the faithful.
Thus I am told:
"You are against the Pope." No, I am not against
the Pope To the contrary, I come to help the Pope. For the Pope
cannot be modernist; he cannot be progressivist. Even if he allows
himself to be pushed around, it is by weakness. This can happen.
St. Peter also was weak with respect to the Jews. And St. Paul severely
reproached him for: “You do not walk according to the Gospel,"
he said to St. Peter. St. Peter was the Pope and St. Paul reproached
him. And he did it vigorously: “I reproached the head of the
Church because he was not walking according to the law of the Gospel."
It was a grave thing to say this to the Pope.
of Siena also vehemently reproached several Popes. We must have
the same attitude. We say: “Holy Father, you are not doing your
duty. You must return to Tradition to be persecuted by all those
Cardinals and Bishops who are modernists you are going to bring
about the ruin of the Church."
I am sure that
in his heart the Pope is profoundly concerned and that he seeks
for a means to renew the Church. I hope that by our prayers and
sacrifices and the prayers of those who love the Holy Church and
who love the Pope we will succeed.
This will be
especially by devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we pray to
Our Lady, she who cannot abandon her Son, she who cannot abandon
the Church that her Son founded, the mystical Spouse of her Son,
we will be answered. It will be difficult and a miracle, but we
As for myself,
I do not want people to make me say that the New Mass is good, but
that it is simply less good than the Traditional Mass. I cannot
say that. I cannot say that these modern sacraments are good. They
were made by Protestants. They were made by Bugnini. And Bugnini
himself said on March 19, 1965, as can still be read in the “Osservatore
Romano" and in “Documentation Catholique," which
magazines published a translation of Bugnini's discourse:
strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything
which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren,
that is for the Protestants."
This was on
March 19, 1965, just before all the reforms. Can we go to the Protestants
and ask them concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, concerning
our catechism? In what are you not in agreement? Do you not like
this or do you not like that? ...Well we will suppress it. This
is not possible. It would perhaps not be heretical to do so, but
the Catholic Faith would be diminished. Thus it is that people no
longer believe in Limbo, in Purgatory and in Hell. Original sin
is no longer believed in, neither are the angels. Grace is not believed
in. People no longer speak of that which is supernatural. Our Faith
is being destroyed.
So we must
absolutely maintain our Faith and pray to the most Blessed Virgin
Mary. We desire to undertake a giant task, and without the help
of the good Lord we will never be able to accomplish it. I am certainly
aware of my weakness and of my isolation. What can I do by myself
compared to the Pope or the Cardinals? I do not know. I go as a
pilgrim, with my pilgrim's staff. I am going to say "keep
the Faith." Keep the Faith. Be rather a martyr then abandon
your Faith. You must keep the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass.
say: "But it is all different now. It is not too bad after
all. As for me, I have a solid Faith and I'm not likely to lose
it." For it is clear that those who habitually attend the
New Mass and the new sacraments undergo a gradual change of mentality.
After a few years it will become apparent in questioning somebody
who goes regularly to this new ecumenical Mass that he has adopted
its ecumenical spirit. This means that he ends up by placing all
religions on the same footing. If he is asked whether one can save
oneself through Protestantism, through Buddhism, or through Islam
he will reply: "But of course. All religions are good."
And there you have it. He has become liberal and Protestant
and is no longer Catholic.
There is only
one religion. There are not two of them. If Our Lord is God and
founded a religion, the Catholic Religion, there can be no other
religion. It is not possible. The other religions are false. That
is why Cardinal Ottaviani used the title: "Concerning Religious
be tolerated when they cannot be prevented. But they cannot be placed
on the same footing as the truth. There could then be no missionary
spirit. The missionary spirit could not then be possible. If all
the false religions save souls then why go out on mission? What
is one going to do there? We have only to leave them in their religion
and they are going to all save themselves. This is not possible.
What, then, has the Church done for twenty centuries? Why all the
martyrs? Why were they all massacred on the mission? Did the missionaries
waste their time? Did the martyrs waste their blood and their lives?
We cannot accept that.
We must remain
Catholic. The slide into ecumenism is very dangerous. Easily one
falls into a religion, which is no longer the Catholic religion.
wish that all could be witnesses of Our Lord, of the Catholic Church
of the Faith, and of Catholicism, even if we have to be despised
and insulted in the newspapers, in the parishes and in the churches.
What does it matter? We are witnesses of the Catholic Church. We
are the true sons of the Catholic Church and true sons of the Blessed
from Fideliter, Janvier-Fevrier 1992,
and published in parts in various issues of the Angelus .)