The Archbishop Speaks

Archbishop Lefebvre’s Recommendations
to the 4 bishops-elect, June 13, 1988


June 13, 1988

"On behalf of the Society of St. Pius X, I thank the four of you.

"When it comes down to it, Rome never answers the essential question. They demand of us a statement which would make us tilt ever so little in their direction, but on their side there is no calling in question of their basic liberalism and modernism. Yet I keep bringing up their modernism.

"As I wrote to them on June 2, however courteous our conversations have been, they have persuaded us that the moment for an understanding has not yet come. We must have some protection against the spirit of Assisi. They never tackle the basic problem, never! So all our efforts have gone for nothing. We have been at cross purposes in these conversations. On our side, we are expecting the return of Tradition to Rome. On their side, they do not budge.

"The Holy Father answers me that in organizing these conversations he has been concerned for unity. Thus the May 5 protocol was to allow the Society to stay within the Church, in line with the 21 ecumenical Councils down to and including Vatican II. I still have to reply to this answer of the Holy Father, but the truth of the matter is that we should be demanding of them to pronounce the Anti-modernist Oath and to accept "Lamentabili" and "Quanta Cura". We should be questioning them on the Faith! But they will not reply. They merely persist in their errors.

"Yesterday de Saventhem told me that I will be the one responsible for any break. But just look at seminarian Carlo's letter on the total failure of "Mater Ecclesiae". He writes, "I was wrong all down the line". Look also at his letter of entreaty to Cardinal Ratzinger. He wrote to the Cardinal several times. No reply! For two years Rome has made fun of these young men. They are being forced to toe the line. Whether it's Garrone, Innocenti or Ratzinger, it is always the same attitude towards ourselves .... In any fight between conservatives and the official Church, Rome always sides with the Conciliar bishop, and condemns Tradition.

"De Saventhem objects, 'But these are only minor details'. I reply that these details carry enormous weight. They mean to draw all we do over to the spirit of the Council. With the May 5 Protocol, we would soon have been dead. We would not have lasted a year. As of now we are unified, but with that Protocol we would have had to make contacts with them, there would have been division within the Society, everything would have been a cause of division. New vocations might have flowed our way because we were with Rome, but such vocations would have tolerated no disagreement with Rome - which means division. As it is, vocations sift themselves before they reach us,.

"On their side, Archbishop Decourtray is offering to one of our colleagues, Fr. Laffargue, a Traditional parish, on condition he quits the Society... They are pulling in our people, they are pulling us over to the Council... Whereas on our side, we are saving the Society and Tradition by carefully keeping our distance from them. We made an honest effort, to see if we could keep Tradition going within the official Church. It turned out to be impossible. They have not budged, except for the worse, for instance Msgr. Casaroli's visit to Moscow.

"However, our people will go mad with joy to be given some bishops. 90% of them will breathe a great sigh of relief!"

"Ah yes, they object, but the May 5 Protocol offered us a bishop. We would never have got him. On television and radio the Bishop of Sion, our diocesan bishop here in Switzerland, said that the Vatican had refused all candidates we put forward. They would accept Dom Gerard, Fr. Pozzetto, Fr. Laffargue. But our own candidates they would have put off, put off, put off. As for de Saventhem, he argues just like one of them!

"Your function will be to give the sacraments, and to preach the Faith. You will be at the service of the Society. Rome only dealt with me because I had the Society behind me. It is a valid entity. Remain very united among yourselves, to lend strength to Tradition. It will be up to the Superior General to take the major decisions...

"As for being bishops without the Pope's approval, that is not in itself schismatic. It only became schismatic from Pius XII onwards, with the Chinese problem.

"In Rome they are most upset. De Saventhem gave me Cardinal Ratzinger's fax number. They have spiritual AIDS down there. They no longer have God's grace, their immune system has shut down. I do not think one can say that Rome has not lost the Faith. As for eventual sanctions, the unpleasantness grows less with time. The humble people will understand, it is the clergy who will react.

"Witnesses to the Faith, martyrs, always had to choose between Faith and authority. We are re-living the trial of Joan of Arc, only with us it is not a disagreeable few months, it has been going on for 20 years!"

Archbishop Lefebvre

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

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