The Archbishop Speaks

Archbishop Lefebvre’s Recommendations
to the 4 bishops-elect, June 12, 1988


Archbishop Lefebvre

June 12, 1988

"It's over. The talks between Rome and ourselves are over. The more one thinks about it, the more one realizes their intentions are not good. Look at what happened to the Traditional leaders, Dom Augustin, Fr. de Blignieres, who went over to Rome and have been swallowed up. Rome wants everything to go Vatican II, while they leave us a little bit of Tradition.

"De Saventhem [then President of the conservative (not Traditional) organization, "Una Voce"] tells me we could still come to an understanding. But I tell him the misunderstanding is not over little things. They are not changing their position. We cannot put ourselves in the hands of those people. We would be fooling ourselves. We do not mean to let ourselves be eaten up.

"The Traditional Benedictine Prior, Dom Gerard, tells me that an agreement with Rome would have opened up for us a huge field for the apostolate. Maybe, but in a world of ambiguity, facing in two directions at once, which would make us go rotten in the end. They insist: "But if you were with Rome, you would have more vocations." But vocations like that, if you breathed one word against Rome, would make life in our seminaries impossible! And if we "came to an agreement" with Rome on that basis, then the diocesan bishops would say "Then come along and join in the dioceses", and little by little Tradition would be compromised.

"All the Traditional Sisters and nuns in France are against an agreement. They tell me, "We do not want to be dependent on Cardinal Ratzinger. Imagine if he were to come and give us conferences! He would split us down the middle!"

"As for the risk of some of our priests leaving us if bishops are consecrated, it will be no worse than in 1977, when a block of priests and seminarians walked out of Econe all in one go. They have all now gone over to Rome or dispersed. It is time to take a second decision to face up to this Rome. What else can we do? And if they insist that it is worse this time round, because this time it could mean excommunication, well, I reply that the basic problem remains unchanged: Rome means to exterminate Tradition, while the sedevacantists have no love for us.

"You four will be bishops for the Church, at the service of the Society of St. Pius X, as laid out in the Protocol of May 5. The Society has the standing to deal with Rome. It will be the Superior General's job, when the time comes, to pick up the threads again with Rome.

"Your function will be to give the sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation and to KEEP THE FAITH on the occasion of Confirmations, to protect the flock... You will be an immense support for the Society. Let all four of you be of one mind, without too many personal initiatives, for instance when it comes to requests for ordination. Do not ordain men who are on their own, and if they form part of a community, take a good look at the community.

"Rome wants us to go Conciliar... You will have to make the rounds once a year, once every two years for Confirmations. As for ordinations, I am presently doing 25 to 30 ceremonies a year, but from June 30 onwards, I am not moving from Econe! I will have done my work, by giving to the Society the structure it needs. And then, as I told the Pope, as soon as Tradition comes back to Rome, the problem will be over.

"As for an eventual excommunication, it will mean nothing, because they are not looking out for the well­being of the Church. However, excommunicating us will be a nuisance for them. They are trying to get to me by fair means or foul, through de Saventhem, a Czech bishop, and so on and so on. They even wanted to send Mother Theresa of Calcutta. But there is no point in such meetings. It has all been talked out long ago.

"Let anyone just read the letter of the former seminarian of Econe, Carlo, who went over to Rome to set up a conservative organisation there, called "Mater Ecclesix", who tried to corrupt our seminarians by getting them to leave us, but whose eyes have since been opened wide by the trickery of Rome. In that letter he admits that Rome treats them like outcasts, that they are forced to take off the cassock, that nobody receives them. He has found out what this Rome is like. Rome wants to turn the Society into another "Mater Ecclesiae". And when the first "Mater Ecclesiae" collapsed, Cardinal Ratzinger rejoiced.

"So why should they keep their word to us? We were protected by God when He allowed the agreement of May 5 to come to naught."

Archbishop Lefebvre

From Le Sel de la Terre, no. 28, Spring 1999, pp.164-168

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