general Letter # 68
Friends and Benefactors
Dear Friends & Benefactors,
In a few weeks we shall
have the great joy of celebrating the centenary of the birth of
our venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. What an extraordinary
figure this tireless missionary presents, missionary first of all
in Africa to bring the Gospel, and then missionary in Europe and
the whole world so that the Catholic Faith might be preserved whole
We would like to dwell
upon his magnificent stature and the profound virtues that characterized
him throughout his life, but in light of the audience we had at
the end of August with Pope Benedict XVI, we shall be content to
reproduce a document that sheds light both on the wisdom and perspicacity
of our founder, as well as upon the rule which guided him and which
we, too, wholly espouse.
In 1966, thus just a
year after the Council's close, Archbishop Lefebvre responded to
questions posed by the Prefect of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani,
on the situation in the Church in the following letter:
I dare say
that the present evil seems to me something very much more serious
than the negation or placing in doubt of any one truth of our
faith. It manifests itself in our day by an extreme confusion
of ideas, by the disaggregation of the Church's institutions,
religious institutes, seminaries, Catholic schools, and, finally,
of what had been the Church's permanent support; but it is nothing
other than the logical continuation of the heresies and errors
which have been sapping the Church for the last several centuries,
especially since the liberalism of the 19th century, which has
done its utmost, no matter the cost, to reconcile the Church and
the ideas that culminated in the French Revolution. In the measure
that the Church has opposed these ideas, which are contrary to
sane philosophy and theology, it has advanced; on the contrary,
the least compromise with these subversive ideas has provoked
an alignment of the Church with civil law and risked making it
a slave to civil society.
each time groups of Catholics let themselves be attracted by these
myths, the Popes courageously corrected them, instructed them,
and, if need by, condemned them. Catholic liberalism was condemned
by Pius IX, modernism by Leo XIII, Sillonism by St. Pius X, communism
by Pius XI, and neo-modernism by Pius XII. Thanks to this admirable
vigilance, the Church was strengthened and developed. Conversions
of pagans and Protestants were very numerous, heresy was completely
routed, and the States accepted legislation in keeping with Catholic
groups of religious imbued with these false ideas succeeded in
spreading them through Catholic Action, and in the seminaries
thanks to a certain indulgence on the part of bishops and the
toleration of certain Roman dicasteries. It was from among these
priests that bishops were soon to be chosen.
It is in
this context that we must situate the Council, which, through
the work of the Preparatory Commission, was preparing to proclaim
the truth in the face of these errors in order to make them disappear
for a long time from the Church's midst. It would have spelled
the end of Protestantism and the beginning of a new, fruitful
era of the Church.
preparation was odiously rejected in order to make way for the
worst tragedy the Church has ever suffered. We have witnessed
the marriage of the Church with liberal ideas. It would be to
deny the evidence and to shut one's eyes not to affirm courageously
that the Council allowed those who profess the errors and tendencies
condemned by the Popes named above to legitimately believe that
their doctrines were henceforth approved.
One can and one unfortunately must affirm that, in a general way,
when the Council innovated, it shook the certitude of the truths
taught by the authentic magisterium of the Church as belonging
definitively to the treasure of Tradition.
be the transmission of the bishops' jurisdiction, the two sources
of Revelation, the inspiration of Scripture, the necessity of
grace for justification, the necessity of Catholic baptism, the
life of grace among heretics, schismatics and pagans, the ends
of marriage, religious liberty, the last things, etc.: on all
these fundamental points, the traditional doctrine was clear and
unanimously taught in Catholic universities. Now, numerous Conciliar
texts on these truths henceforth allow doubts.
have been rapidly drawn and applied to the life of the Church:
about the necessity of the Church and the sacraments lead to
the disappearance of priestly vocations.
about the necessity and the nature of the “conversion”
of every soul lead to the disappearance of religious vocations,
the ruin of traditional spirituality in the novitiates, and
the futility of the missions.
about the legitimacy of authority and the duty of obedience
provoked by the exaltation of human dignity, the autonomy of
conscience, and of freedom shake all societies starting with
the Church, religious societies, the dioceses, civil society,
and the family.
result of pride is the burgeoning of the concupiscence of the
eyes and of the flesh. Perhaps one of the most frightful observations
to be made about our epoch is to note to what a level of moral
degradation most Catholic publications have descended. They speak
without the least reticence about sexuality, birth control by
any means, the legitimacy of divorce, of co-education of dating,
of dances as a necessary part of Christian education, of priestly
about the necessity of grace in order to be saved provoke the
undervaluing of baptism and its postponement, and the abandonment
of the sacrament of penance. Moreover, this especially involves
an attitude of priests and not of the faithful. The same goes
for the Real Presence: it is the priests who act as if they
no longer believed by hiding the Sacred Host, by suppressing
all marks of respect towards the Blessed Sacrament and all the
ceremonies in Its honor.
about the necessity of the Church as the unique source of salvation
and about the Catholic Church as the only true religion originating
in the declaration on ecumenism and religious liberty, destroy
the authority of the Church's magisterium. Indeed, Rome is no
longer the unique and necessary “Magistra Veritatis”.
by the facts, it is necessary to conclude that the Council has
favored, inconceivably, the diffusion of liberal errors. Faith,
morals, and ecclesiastical discipline have been shaken in their
foundation according to the predictions of all the Popes.
of the Church is rapidly advancing. By an exaggerated authority
given to the episcopal conferences, the Sovereign Pontiff has
rendered himself ineffectual. In a single year how many painful
examples of this have we witnessed! Still, the Successor of Peter,
and he alone, can save the Church.
Here are the solutions
recommended by Archbishop Lefebvre:
Let the Holy
Father surround himself with vigorous defenders of the Faith;
let him designate them in the important dioceses. Let him deign,
by important documents, to proclaim truth, pursue error without
fear of contradictions, without fear of schisms, without fear
of questioning the pastoral dispositions of the Council.
May the Holy
Father deign: to encourage the bishops to uphold faith and morals,
each in his respective diocese, as befits every good pastor; to
support the courageous bishops, encouraging them to reform their
seminaries and to restore studies according to St. Thomas; to
encourage the general superiors to uphold in the novitiates and
communities the fundamental principles of Christian asceticism,
especially obedience; to encourage the development of Catholic
schools, a doctrinally sound Catholic press, associations of Catholic
families; and, finally, to reprimand the instigators of errors
and reduce them to silence. The Wednesday allocutions cannot replace
encyclical letters, mandates, and letters to bishops.
it is bold of me to express myself in this way! But it is from
a burning love that I write these lines, love of God's glory,
love of Jesus, love of Mary, love of the Church and of the Successor
of Peter, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ....
Everything has been
said, and even today there is nothing to add or remove from this
remarkable analysis of the logical consequences of the Council,
replaced in its historical context, and of the reforms that were
then on the horizon, and even of the depth of the crisis which had
struck the Church and from which she has still not escaped, held
fast by the principles with which the Council and the popes have
We think quite frankly
that the solution to the problem that the Society creates for Rome
is intimately linked to the resolution of the crisis which has struck
the Church. The day that the authorities again look with a benevolent
eye and with hope upon the Church's past and her Tradition, they
will be able to get beyond the rupture caused by the Council and
to be reconciled with the eternal principles on which the Church
has been built for twenty centuries; they will be able to draw strength
and to find the solution to the crisis. And then there will no longer
be a Society of Saint Pius X “problem”.
That is the reason for
our discussions with the Holy See. That is the fundamental problem.
The new Mass and the Council are just the tip of the iceberg that
has struck the barque of the Church; the spirit of the Council proceeds
from liberalism, from Protestantism, and, ultimately, from the revolt
against God which will mark the history of men until the end of
time. What would be the point of an accord that would consist in
letting oneself be sunk by the iceberg.
We heartily thank you
for all your prayers and generous sacrifices. All of that is very
precious to us. In our visits to Rome and in all our activities,
we rely very much upon them. Please be assured in return of the
seminarians' prayers and ours at the foot of the altar in thanksgiving
for your unceasing generosity.
On the Feast of St.
September 29, 2005
+ Bernard Fellay
May Our Lord's sacrifice
be your daily support! May the Immaculate Heart of Mary be your
protection and refuge. With all my gratitude, I bless you.