Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pope Pius X’s Syllabus condemning the errors of the Modernists

LAMENTABILI SANE

Pius X July 3, 1907

With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful’s minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.

Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.

1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

2. The Church’s interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.

4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church’s magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.

5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.

6. The “Church learning” and the “Church teaching” collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the “Church teaching” to sanction the opinions of the “Church learning.”

7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.

8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.

10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.

14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.

15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.

16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.

17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word lncarnate.

18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.

19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes.

20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his revelation to God.

21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles.

22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.

23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves.

25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities.

26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

30 In all the evangelical texts the name “Son of God” is equivalent only to that of “Messias.” It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.

31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.

32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33 Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.

39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity .

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.

41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man’s mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.

42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.
43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.

44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.

46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament.

47. The words of the Lord, “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.

48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.

49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character.

50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.

51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.

57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and universal.

61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.

62. The chief articles of the Apostles’ Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.

63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.

65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.

Peter Palombelli, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition

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Happy Thanksgiving!

A Blessed Thanksgiving to all my readers.  In addition to all we have to be thankful for, thank God that you have the grace to remain faithful to the True Church.  Thank Our Lord for giving us the Ark of Salvation, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Our Faith is so great.  We have the Sacraments to sustain us, the Saints to intercede for us, the world to hate, Sainthood to attain, Heaven to strive for, Hell to avoid and a soul to save.

Thanks be to God for His Glorious Church!

http://www.spiritdaily.com/firstMass.htm

St. Athanasius, Pope St. Pius X, Archbishop Lefebvre and today’s crisis (Pt. 2)

Part I on this post here: https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/st-athanasius-pope-st-pius-x-archbishop-lefebvre-and-todays-crisis/

“I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Saviour of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my Divine Son, those whom I carry in my arms, so to speak, those who have lived on my spirit. Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world.  It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days.  May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honour of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.”

The famous words of the Mother of God at LaSalette speak to us today.   She forewarned us of the Passion and eclipse of the Church that we are currently living through.

She warned us because She loves us.  Not one facet of the Church has not been touched and altered, not one. This has led to the loss of Faith, also known as the eclipse of the Church.  The true Faith has been eclipsed by the enemies of the Church who do not want the light of the truth to shine upon the world so that it might be saved.  What is one to do?  Our Lady of LaSalette calls upon us to fight, as is our duty, for we are the Church Militant, doing battle for our souls, most importantly. However, we are also to do battle for the True Faith and to guard and protect that Faith, for in all times there must be valiant soldiers and warriors to fight against the current revolution leading souls to perdition. Today’s revolution is that of Modernism and two such warriors of God were Pope St. Pius X and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who both followed in the footsteps of St. Athanasius.

Those who have the True Faith are those “cherished children” and “Apostles of the Latter Days” that Our Lady spoke of.  We are those of Prophecy, those called to do great things for the Church, to suffer during Her most bitter Passion and to usher in the long awaited restoration of the Church.

It is our duty to fight against Modernism.  Our Lord’s Church is and always will be the same.  Our Lord placed a barrier between the things of the world and the things of God.  Those who are friends of the world are enemies of God and are no friends of the Church.  Hear the words of the great Pope, St. Pius X on this most pernicious of errors:

“The true friends of the people are neither the revolutionaries nor the innovators. They are the traditionalists.” -Letter on the Sillon, August 25, 1910

Indeed, for it is the traditionalists who hold the Faith, whole and entire.  Either you are fully Catholic or you are not. There is no middle ground, as Pope Benedict XV said:

“The nature of the Catholic Faith is such that nothing can be added to it, nothing taken away.  Either it is held in its entirety, or it is rejected totally.  This is the Catholic Faith, which unless a man believes faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” 

If one is truly Catholic, one will assent to and believe everything the Church teaches in her doctrines and dogmas including all the traditions, disciplines, laws, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the True Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass.  Hear St. Vincent of Lerins:

“Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly ‘Catholic,’ as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality, antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself, we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, Bishops and Doctors alike.

What then will the Catholic Christian do, if a small part of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the universal Faith? The answer is sure. He will prefer the healthiness of the whole body to the morbid and corrupt limb.

But what if some novel contagions try to infect the whole Church, and not merely a tiny part of it? Then he will take care to cleave to antiquity, which cannot now be led astray by any deceit of novelty.

What if in antiquity itself two or three men, or it may be a city, or even a whole province be detected in error? Then he will take the greatest care to prefer the decrees of the ancient General Councils, if there are such, to the irresponsible ignorance of a few men.

But what if some error arises regarding which nothing of this sort is to be found? Then he must do his best to compare the opinions of the Fathers and inquire their meaning, provided always that, though they belonged to diverse times and places, they yet continued in the faith and communion of the one Catholic Church; and let them be teachers approved and outstanding. And whatever he shall find to have been held, approved and taught, not by one or two only but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently, and persistently, let him take this as to be held by him without the slightest hesitation.”

How is one to fight this revolution?  By cleaving to the True Faith and helping as many souls as possible to do the same.  Either the Church was right in Her teaching and practice for 1,500 years or She was wrong.  If She was wrong, Our Lord would be a deceiver and a liar, for the gates of hell would have long ago prevailed against the Church.  Did the Church suddenly finally figure out who She was 50 years ago?  Indeed not and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.  Satan decided to infiltrate the Church as never before, causing chaos and confusion, doubt, despair, pain and destruction.  The Master of lies is behind Modernism and He is behind the falling away from the Faith.  He robbed Catholics of their religion and thinks he can do damage control.  We will win in the end, for we are the counter-revolution doing battle against the revolution, for the restoration of the Church.

We are fighting against the enemy within the Church.  Modernism is the enemy within the Church.

“Henceforth the enemy of the Church is no longer outside the Church; he is now within.”  ~Encyclical Esupremi apostolatus, October 4, 1903

“One of the primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the Deposit of Faith delivered to the Saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words, and the gainsaying of knowledge falsely so-called…. We may no longer keep silent [against the Modernists], lest we should seem to fail in our essential duty.” ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, Sec. 1

We must not approve of the actions of the Modernists.  We must condemn all that harms the Faith and the good of the Church, for the sake of souls.  The Modernists do not have the good of the Church in mind.  They seek her destruction.  Pope St. Pius X has said it.

25-Card-Sarto-Procession-Venice-1890s“The partisans of errors are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church.”  ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

“Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that renders them redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack.”   ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

Indeed, they do vent their hatred upon us because we are Catholic.  Today, there is no conspiracy of silence.  The battle is out in the open and it is fierce.  During this Pontificate, we have seen the ongoing dismantling of a thriving Catholic Religious Order, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, as one example.  We are seen as the harsh, rigid fanatics today.  All we do is practice the Faith as it has always been practiced.  The problem is that the Church has been overtaken by those who are not Catholic.  Why do we continue to be hated?  Because the Modernists know they have little time left. They can think the victory is theirs but the victory lies with Our Lord Jesus Christ and his instruments of restoration, whoever that may be that still clings to antiquity and the Catholic Faith of 2,000 years.

“For Catholics, nothing will remove the authority of the Second Council of Nicaea, where it condemns those who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics to deride ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind or to endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church.”   ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

No one can remove the authority of any Council of the Church.  They can be ignored, but at one’s own peril.

This Council of Nicea stated:

“If anyone rejects any written or unwritten Tradition of the Church, let him be anathema.”

“They lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree so that there is no part of the Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices, for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance.”   ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

A tactic of the Modernists is to teach both error and truth to cover up their evil.  Discarding tradition and inventing novelties has been the defining element of the Modernists. They work swiftly and cunningly, all the while convincing those ignorant sheep that they are doing what is best for the Church and requiring their obedience but the great Archbishop Lefebvre one said:

“Blind obedience is an oxymoron, and no one is exempt from responsibility for having obeyed men rather than God. It is too easy to say, “As for me, I’m obeying. If he’s mistaken, then I’ll be mistaken with him. I prefer to be wrong with the pope than to be right against the pope!” This should be construed as “I prefer to be against our Lord Jesus Christ with the pope than to be with our Lord Jesus Christ against the pope!” Incredible! We are for our Lord Jesus Christ and, consequently, insofar as the pope is truly the Vicar of Christ and acts as the Vicar of Christ and gives us the light of Christ, we are, of course, ready to close our eyes and follow him everywhere. But since this light is no longer that of our Lord Jesus Christ and they are leading us towards new horizons explicitly called new–they do not make a secret of it; everything is new: new code of canon law, new missal…new ecclesiology–that’s no longer any good at all….The resistance must be public if the evil is public and an object of scandal, according to St. Thomas.”  ~Archbishop Lefebvre

“Satan’s masterstroke is to have succeeded in sowing disobedience to all Tradition through obedience.”  ~Archbishop Lefebvre

The sin of pride is behind Modernism.

“But it is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and plunge it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and an occasion to flaunt itself in all its aspects. It is pride which fills Modernists with that confidence in themselves and leads them to hold themselves up as the rule for all, pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, inflated with presumption, We are not as the rest of men, and which, to make them really not as other men, leads them to embrace all kinds of the most absurd novelties; it is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty; it is pride that makes of them the reformers of others, while they forget to reform themselves, and which begets their absolute want of respect for authority, not excepting the supreme authority. No, truly, there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. When a Catholic laymen or a priest forgets that precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce ourselves if we would follow Jesus Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart, ah! but he is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. Hence, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to thwart such proud men, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices; the higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that their lowly position may deprive them of the power of causing damage. Sound your young clerics, too, most carefully, by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among any of them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the proper vigilance and constancy.”   ~Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907

The first sin of mankind was pride.  No surprise that it should be the driving force behind the destruction of the Church.  A cleric is to live for Our Lord and His Church and to set aside his life and opinions.  What matters is what the Church teaches, for the teachings of the Church are the teachings of Christ.  If you reject one teaching of the Church in your obstinacy, you reject Christ.  If you reject the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Traditional Mass, you reject Christ, for it is Christ who has given us that Mass for our sanctification.  It would not be the Mass of the Church, if that were not true. The Church has not been wrong for 1,950.  Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre understood thus clearly and founded a society for the preservation of the Catholic Priesthood so the Catholic Mass would be saved, that souls would be saved from the destruction of Modernism.  Where would the Church be without Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre?  The Traditional Latin Mass would no longer exist. There would be no Diocesan Indult, if it were not for the Archbishop’s work.  One day, he will be acknowledged as a hero and venerated as a saint for preserving the Catholic Mass and Priesthood. The Archbishop took his episcopal duty seriously.  As a Bishop, his duty was to pass on the True Faith he had received and he did so honorably.  Additionally, he demonstrated heroic virtue in fighting against the revolution, Modernism, in his life work, example and sermons.

Pope St. Pius X and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ora pro nobis and intercede for us in our continuing fight against the synthesis of all heresies, Modernism, until one day we can say the enemy has been vanquished, the sun arises, the altars are restored, the Te Deum is sung from St. Peters at the coronation of the Angelic Pope flanked by his Great Monarch and the Church is returned to her former glory of making saints and saving souls, her one and only mission given to her by Her Master and Founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

~Damsel of the Faith

40th Anniversary of the November 21, 1974 Declaration of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

On this Anniversary of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s famous 1974 Declaration, we would do well to read and ponder it.  The following is the Declaration of a great man who stood fast in the True Faith he received, the Catholic Faith of 2,000 years, despite the attacks from the gates of hell:

We hold firmly with all our heart and with all our mind to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to the maintenance of this faith, to the eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth.

We refuse on the other hand, and have always refused, to follow the Rome of Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant tendencies, which became clearly manifest during the Second Vatican Council, and after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.

In effect, all these reforms have contributed and continue to contribute to the destruction of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the abolition of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, to the disappearance of the religious life, and to a naturalistic and Teilhardian education in the universities, in the seminaries, in catechetics: an education deriving from Liberalism and Protestantism which had been condemned many times by the solemn Magisterium of the Church.

No authority, not even the highest in the hierarchy, can compel us to abandon or to diminish our Catholic Faith, so clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s Magisterium for nineteen centuries.

“Friends,” said St. Paul, “though it were we ourselves, though it were an angel from heaven that should preach to you a gospel other than the gospel we have preached to you, a curse upon him” (Gal. 1:8).

Is it not this that the Holy Father is repeating to us today? And if there is a certain contradiction manifest in his words and deeds as well as in the acts of the dicasteries,* then we cleave to what has always been taught and we turn a deaf ear to the novelties which destroy the Church.

It is impossible to profoundly modify the Lex Orandi without modifying the Lex Credendi. To the New Mass there corresponds the new catechism, the new priesthood, the new seminaries, the new universities, the “Charismatic” Church, Pentecostalism: all of them opposed to orthodoxy and the never-changing Magisterium.

This reformation, deriving as it does from Liberalism and Modernism, is entirely corrupted; it derives from heresy and results in heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical.

It is therefore impossible for any conscientious and faithful Catholic to espouse this reformation and to submit to it in any way whatsoever.

The only attitude of fidelity to the Church and to Catholic doctrine appropriate for our salvation is a categorical refusal to accept this reformation.

That is why, without any rebellion, bitterness, or resentment, we pursue our work of priestly formation under the guidance of the never-changing Magisterium, convinced as we are that we cannot possibly render a greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to posterity.

That is why we hold firmly to everything that has been consistently taught and practiced by the Church (and codified in books published before the Modernist influence of the Council) concerning faith, morals, divine worship, catechetics, priestly formation, and the institution of the Church, until such time as the true light of tradition dissipates the gloom which obscures the sky of the eternal Rome.

Doing this, with the grace of God, the help of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Pius X, we are certain that we are being faithful to the Catholic and Roman Church, to all of Peter’s successors, and of being the Fideles Dispensatores Mysteriorum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi In Spiritu Sancto.

+ Marcel Lefebvre

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass lecture by Archbishop Lefebvre

This address on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was given in Ottawa, Canada in November 1975. Words can’t do it justice.  This great man loved the Holy Mass with all his soul.  The Mass was everything to him and he only desired it to be loved by the Church, as it should be, for the Mass is the heart and soul of the Church because it is the Sacrifice of Our Lord and it contains God Himself. Hatred of the Holy Mass is diabolical.  Hear the words of the great Bishop:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have come among you to primarily speak of the most pressing problem of our time, which is the preservation of our Catholic Faith. I am not referring simply to certain liturgical modifications, nor to certain aspects of renewal, which result from the Second Vatican Council. These details, of course, do have their importance. I am here rather to offer encouragement in the struggle to preserve the essentials of our Faith, for our Faith is vital, and before going on, I would like to bring your attention to what precisely constitutes the essentials of our Faith.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth to redeem mankind, and it was by means of the Cross-that He achieved this. The central point of Christ’s life on earth, the purpose for which the Son of God became man was to die on the Cross for the salvation of all men, not only the faithful, not only Catholics, but all men. Unfortunately, not all men have accepted Christ’s message but be they Buddhists, Moslems or Protestants, all – at least all who wished to be saved – are bound to achieve their salvation through the bloodshed for them by Jesus Christ.

This, of course, is very simple for us who are Catholics. This is our Faith, the Faith we have always been taught, and yet, in our own time, how many Catholics still do accept this truth, that salvation comes to all men through Jesus Christ, that outside of Christ there is no salvation? I find it extraordinary that Catholics will questions the age-old adage, “no salvation outside the Church.” This is precisely the most important question facing mankind today, just as it was in all ages. Indeed, there is nothing more vital to man than for him to know how he is to be saved, by whom he is to be saved, and in what manner he is to be saved. Can there possibly be a question of greater moment for those who inhabit the earth?

Now, it is quite certain that when we proclaim today that there is “no salvation outside the Church,” many Catholics rise up incredulously and affirm that this is nonsense, that otherwise those not in the Church must be condemned to hell. The fact is, however, that this remains a crucial tenet of interest to all mankind. As Catholics we are bound to affirm what the Church has always affirmed, because the Church is the repository of all truth: God made man and the Son of God was made man to be crucified for the salvation of all men. Can there possibly be any other source of salvation outside of the Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ? Can we as Catholics accept that Luther, Buddha or Mohammed are also means of eternal salvation? Are they also in heaven seated at the right hand of God? Yet today, despite the absurdity, many Catholics no longer accept that there is “no salvation outside the Church.”

Protestants or Buddhists who achieve their salvation through an act of love for God – in effect, implicitly a baptism of desire – do so through Christ and His Church. The Church teaches that no man is saved except through Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, as Catholics, is what we must believe, for it is what the Church has always taught. There is no other God, no other truth, no other salvation but Christ Jesus. This is the center, the foundation, the goal of our Christian life, and it will one day be the crowning glory of our Christian life. There is nothing, in a word, outside of Christ Jesus who is our only joy on earth and in heaven.

You understand, I am sure, how important it is to affirm these truths. Jesus Himself, and not ourselves, chose the means for us to receive His Grace. The means He chose was the Cross -, and He chose that the Cross – and His Sacrifice upon it be continued on earth upon our altars. There is no other place but upon our altars that Christ’s Calvary is continued in this world. Catholics in every age have understood the enormity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our ancestors most certainly understood it, our ancestors who built the worthy church buildings, which adorn your country, and the extraordinary cathedrals and basilicas of Europe. Visitors the world over come to these shrines to stand in awe before the splendor of the labor and genius of our ancestors of a thousand years ago. Why did they erect such monuments, expending decade upon decade of their fragile lives to bringing forth these magnificent cathedrals? For the sake of the altar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the sake of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is celebrated upon it. And it was Christ Himself who wished it.

Jesus Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper on the occasion of the first sacrifice – for the Last Supper was indeed a Sacrifice, as the Council of Trent teaches – when He made priests of His Apostles and enjoined them, “Do this in memory of Me.” He did not say, “Tell this story, describe this action of Mine to your children and to future generations.” He said rather, “Do this, re-do this, continue to do this which I have done.” It is very important that we realize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is an action and not a narrative, not a story. I am sure you must realize why I am emphasizing: it is precisely because in our time Christ’s intentions are being subverted, contradicted and suppressed.

It is vital, therefore, that we insist upon what is essential to our Holy Faith and indeed to the very idea of Christian civilization, in which we have good reason to glory still, and which we hope with all our hearts to regain and to see revitalized as it was in medieval times. The world chuckles today about the Middle Ages. Modem man tells us it was an age of obscurity – the dark ages – but history itself tells us the medieval age was the greatest age in history, and the thirteenth the greatest century that mankind has ever known. Why? Because of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and because of the spirituality generated by the Mass. Today, more than ever before, our civilization needs its altars, needs it priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which in fact is a re-enactment of the Sacrifice of the Cross. The whole of our Christian civilization rest upon our altars. But if we destroy our altars and replace them with a table, and upon this table we simply prepare a meal which is but a memorial of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Last Supper, which is but a narrative of what He said and did on that occasion, then we have forfeited the basis upon which Christian civilization rests. The Catholic Church then ceases to exist, for the Church rests upon the dogma, upon the reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, whence comes Holy Communion, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. For Holy Communion – the Eucharist – transforms our very souls, civilizes us, disciplines us and imposes order upon our souls. Without the Eucharist we reek of disorder.

We frequently wonder why there are so few priests today. It is because there is no longer any preoccupation with the Sacrifice of the Mass. There is no more ideal, no more goal for the priest to pursue, His goal had always been to go unto the Altar of God to offer the Sacrifice of Calvary. That is precisely what made the sublimity of the priest, the ideal of the priestly vocation in a young man. Similarly, for the religious – nuns and brothers – the foundation of their vocation was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, just as it was for you, the laity.

What, then, precisely is a Christian? Essentially, a Christian is one who offers himself as a victim on the altar with Our Lord. That is what the Sacrament of Marriage is also: a symbol of Christ’s union with His Church. Just as Christ offered His life for His Church, so also do the spouses offer their lives for their families and for each other. This union is a vivid symbol of what occurred at Calvary, and thus the spouses derive the strength and courage required for the sacrifice of their union from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there can be no Catholic spirituality, no Christian life, and all that has been the life of the Church through the ages will simply wither and cease to exist. We, then, do have a vital requirement for the true Sacrifice of the Mass, and this is of fundamental importance to us as Catholics.

I do allow that in recent centuries perhaps our catechetics have placed more emphasis upon the Eucharist as sacrament, than upon the Eucharist as sacrifice. There has been great emphasis placed on the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and for good reason, of course. We stage, for example, massive international Eucharistic Congresses throughout the Catholic world to provide the faithful with the opportunity to adore Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. And these Eucharistic Congresses were of unsurpassed splendor, living testimony of the profound belief of the faithful in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Thus, while the Church has in recent centuries placed much emphasis upon the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist – the Eucharist as Sacrament – at the same time, perhaps unconsciously, the Eucharist as Sacrifice has to some extent been neglected. Let us come back to this idea of the Eucharist as Sacrifice, without losing sight of the Eucharist as Sacrament. I do think that today there ought to be a renewed emphasis on the Eucharist as Sacrifice because, after all, it is the Eucharist as Sacrifice, which is the source of the Eucharist as Sacrament. The Eucharist as Sacrament comes to us from the Sacrifice of the Cross. Without the Cross there would be no Sacrament of the Eucharist because the Sacrament is the Victim, and without the Sacrifice there is no Victim. And without the Victim there is no Real Presence, no participation, no communion by the faithful. In a word, when we receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist – Holy Communion – we are partaking of the Victim Who offered Himself on the Cross, and Who offers Himself in an unbloody manner daily on our altars for the forgiveness of sins. This, then, is the profound meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist: the Blessed Sacrament is the fruit of this extraordinary tree which is the Cross because the Sacrament proceeds from the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

We must therefore come back to this idea of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is essential to our salvation, and see in this Sacrifice precisely that element which has been the splendor of our civilization, and to understand why, today, this civilization – Western civilization, Christian civilization – is shaken to its very foundations, how the decline of our Christian civilization began when we came to express doubts about the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, when we began to attack, abolish and suppress the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This incredible phenomenon traces its origins to Berenger in the fourteenth century. Then in the sixteenth century, Luther boldly declared that the Mass is not a Sacrifice. Luther’s attack, therefore, was directed at the very heart of the Church, to its most precious dogma. And in thus undermining the Sacrifice of the Mass, he destroyed the priesthood instituted by Christ, because without the Sacrifice, what need is there for a priesthood, what ideal does the priest strive for? The priest becomes merely a functionary designed from among the members of an assembly to offer worship, to perform a communion, to break bread.

That is what Luther achieved 450 years ago, and, as those familiar with the history of his reformation will recognize, that is precisely what is happening with respect to the transformation of the liturgy in our own time. Many of the elements of change are identical. During Luther’s reformation the vernacular, German, was adopted and, needless to say, there was great rejoicing: the youth became enthusiastic, the laity could now understand, they could return now to what appeared to be a more evangelical church, they could worship now more meaningfully. The laity, in a word, had discovered a new relevance in the life of the Church. But the euphoria of juvenile enthusiasm soon gave way to disillusion: the priesthood began to disintegrate, priests and nuns left their monasteries, the convents were emptied and the religious married. How could this be so soon after the fervor and enthusiasm of the early years? The whole phenomenon was but a straw fire because the reformers had attacked the essential elements of Christ’s Church, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

With the Sacrifice attacked, the traditional respect for the Eucharist did not remain long immune. The faithful began to receive Communion standing, then Communion was distributed in the hand, then the reformers began to openly deny the Real Presence, the Supreme Sacrifice, and to deny the priesthood, all that the Church had cherished most dearly.

The Protestant Reformation struck our civilization at its very roots, and it was just a matter of time before the tenets of Liberalism were added to those of the religious reformation. Thus, in the seventeenth century, Descartes brought forward the notion of truth being relative, subjective, within ourselves. That is, truth comes from our consciences, and not from outside of ourselves. Descartes refused the notion of truth, which comes from God and from Christ. And in the eighteenth century, Rousseau, carrying Descartes a step further, directed his attack at the moral law: man is good, his conscience is good. Therefore, it is his conscience, which should guide him, and not the law.

These three – Luther who attacked Church dogma and the Faith, Descartes who attacked the concept of objective truth, and Rousseau who attacked the moral law – were the precursors of the modern society in which we live today. Today, as we all recognize, faith, truth and the law are all relative and subject to the conscience of the individual. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what Liberalism is all about. Man has become free, liberated, adult, guided now exclusively by his own conscience and by his own will.

What in reality has all this liberation meant for society, for our civilization? It has brought about the destruction of the human person whose very being comes from God and from Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose entire spiritual life comes from Christ, from His law of love, from the gift of His grace which transforms and moves him to adhere to His law. If there is no absolute truth, but rather our own which we create for ourselves, there is no more God, no need for God, because we are sufficient unto ourselves. We become in effect our own gods and accordingly refuse a God, which transcends ourselves. It is not long before nature destroys itself in a sense.

In the wake of Rousseau came the subjectivist philosophers of the nineteenth century: Kant, Hegel and the others, all contributing and advancing the destruction of the Christian Faith. Little by little these ideas made their way until the principles of Liberalism virtually destroyed the notion of Christian society. Already by the end of the eighteenth century it had become imperative in France to be liberated from the restrictions of Christian law, of Catholic kings, of Catholic society, in a word, of God. That is why in France, bankrupt of God, the Goddess Reason was formally consecrated by the State.

The Church, of course, resisted these tendencies. For a century and a half – from about 1800 to about 1960 – the Popes spoke out, issued encyclicals, used every conceivable means to prevent the destruction of the social and moral order by these tendencies. But these ideas, which had their origins in the Protestant Reformation and the advent of Liberalism, made their way little by little, and society became contaminated, and the dikes which hitherto had kept men in an ordered state, burst. Finally, like the Jews before Pontius Pilate, the states declared, “We have no king but Caesar,” and accordingly effected the separation of Church and State. They drove Jesus Christ from the courts, from the army, from the universities, from the schools. The crucifixes were withdrawn from public buildings, the clergy were relegated to their vestries, society was laicized.

Society had thus become free, free of God. There soon followed freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience. And now, a century and a half later, we find ourselves enslaved by pornography, enslaved by television and the other media of social communications, which have so thoroughly infused into our society the kind of freedom, which destroys morality, the family, and society itself.

For her part, until about 1960, the Church resolutely resisted Liberalism in all these forms. She continued to teach obedience and submission to Jesus Christ, to His Law, to His Sacrifice, to His Sacraments and to His grace. For it is there that we find truth, true freedom, freedom from the slavery of sin. Once free of sin, we become enslaved rather to saintliness.

We see to what brutal depths our society has been reduced. The catechisms, the Canadian catechism, is a perfect example of the process I have tried at some length to describe, to destroy, an entire catechism devoted to destruction. Catechism by its nature suggests a breaking with sin, but modern catechisms are directed towards breaking down tradition and social taboos, breaking the family, destroying the restraints, which have held our civilization together. These are the things your children are taught in catechism today. Do the Gospels teach us that we must destroy? On the contrary, the Gospels teach us rather that we are to forge bonds of charity, of love: love God, love your parents, love your neighbor. These are strong bonds, mandatory bonds. We are not free to love or not to love. We must love God, and our parents and society, to the extent, of course, that society is in accord with God’ s law.

This concept to teach our children to destroy, to break is a criminal concept because such notions will accompany them throughout their lives: through their youth and later when, by a sort of dialectic which will continue to gnaw at them and will always oppose them to others and consume them with the imperative to be “free” in order to grow, in order to be “themselves.” This is fraught with extremely serious consequences and we wonder now how we could even imagine such a system of catechism. The new catechetics are simply a natural long-term consequence of Liberalism.

And though our Popes opposed Liberalism and recognized it for what it is, today nevertheless one can safely affirm that Liberalism has overwhelmed the Church. It has permeated our culture, our society, our universities and our schools. No area remains immune, not even our families have been spared the poison of Liberalism. Our seminaries have been contaminated by ideas proposed by such men as Teilhard de Chardin, whereby truth is relative, evolving, personal. There is no longer an immutable truth, therefore no fixed dogma. And this, tragically, is what has come out of Vatican II. Gaudium et spes best illustrates this: at least two pages are devoted to, the idea of change, to the evolution of truth. Change is what “updating” is all about. Anyone who is a party to “updating” faces that as a premise: as a result of our new found mastery of nature, we must accept change in philosophy, in modes of expression and action, in the manner in which we conceive our religion, in the realization that the way ideas were understood in the past are no longer applicable today.

Thus, seminaries, for example, are told they must no longer proselytize, evangelize or convert non-Christians. They must, rather, engage in dialogue in order to direct their flocks toward self-discovery and the realization that their faith is, after all, as valid as our own. This, of course, is heresy, pure and simple, and has had the predictable effect of numbing in a very short time the Church’s entire missionary spirit. It goes without saying that, having killed the missionary spirit, the priestly spirit itself will cease to exist.

These are the factors, then, which leave Catholics with no incentive for the religious life today. People no longer know what the religious state of life is. Recently the Archbishop of Cincinnati, reporting to the Roman Synod on the crisis of vocations to the priesthood, solemnly declared that the lack of vocations apparent in the Church today stems from the fact that the priest has lost his sense of identity. What do these incredible words mean? Simply that the priest does not know what he is. Since when does the priest not know who or what he is? After 2,000 years of having priests in the Catholic Church we suddenly no longer know what constitutes a priest! Why have we come to this? Because we have destroyed our altars by changing them into “tables,” stripped them of their altar stones, which from the fourth century have harbored the relics of the martyrs. A sacrifice is traditionally offered upon a stone, a stone altar, but today there is no sacrifice, no stone, no relics. The Mass has become a meal. Relics signify that the martyrs had offered themselves as a sacrifice in union with Our Lord. You can understand just how grave it is to abolish these magnificent symbolisms, and to what extent all that is most sacred in the holy Catholic religion, is being tampered with. And all of this tampering penetrated the Church at the Second Vatican Council.

I am frequently criticized because I attack the Council. It is true that I am at variance with the Council because I realize that the liberal spirit is destroying the Church, the priesthood, the sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the catechism, Catholic universities and Catholic schools. And you yourselves are as firmly convinced as I am because you have the examples constantly before your eyes. Parents have come to prefer to send their children to non-Catholic schools, even to Protestant schools, because they are less subject there to perversion than in their own Catholic schools.

Is this not an incomprehensible scandal when we reflect on what Canada was twenty years ago at the proud invitation of Msgr. Cabana to visit his new seminary, finished in 1955, full of seminarians. This remained so until 1965. Today the seminary has been sold and there remains nothing of this work. What is happening in the Church the world over when seminaries like the one in Sherbrooke, not twenty years old, are disposed of in this way?

Recently I spoke with an Italian bishop who had just returned from a trip during which he had hoped to come into contact with priests anxious to maintain traditions of the Church to establish a common bond, to perhaps create an association of traditional priests in Italy. He had returned overwhelmed. Having visited nearly every diocese in Italy, he realized that seminaries are being sold everywhere, and that young priests are out and out Marxists. Though Italy has an average three times more priests than France, the seminaries are empty; Turin with a capacity for 300 has 80 seminarians from several neighboring dioceses. The Bishop of Casserta confided to me that his seminarians come back to him Modernists and refuse to obey him. What kind of diocese is he going to have in just a few years from now in the light of the state of the priesthood and the seminaries today?

In France there are approximately 100 new candidates who enter all the seminaries each year, for 100 dioceses. The only notable seminary left is at Issy-les-Moulinaux, near Paris, with 80 seminarians for 25 dioceses and four or five religious communities. And of these, how many will finish? And how many more are living in the hope that between now and their ordination Rome will have authorized a married clergy?

This situation, which took root at the Council, is vitally serious. The enthusiasm for liberation was evident throughout the Council. It expressed itself in the equivocal wording of the various schemas, through the idea of change for the sake of change, through the idea of the primacy of the individual conscience as opposed to established law, through the notion of freedom for all religions. This the Church has always regarded as contrary to her rights because, as she believes, she alone is Truth. And if a Catholic state places no obstacle to the spreading of heresy within its jurisdiction, then the state becomes a Protestant state in effect, with all its attendant errors, on marriage, for example, which leads to tolerance for divorce, contraception and abortion, all of which gently undermines Christian society, Catholic society. We recognize that it is precisely this, which has set the Church upon a course of full-scale self-destruction, which has become more and more obvious.

These, then, are the reasons why we are so attached to our traditions. This is why, in the face of the deluge, this universal destruction of the Holy Catholic Church, we affirm the will to preserve the Catholic Mass, the Catholic Sacraments, the Catholic catechism, our Catholic universities and our Catholic schools. We refuse to maintain liberal schools in which everything and anything goes. We insist upon Catholic schools in order that our children be raised as Catholics. We insist upon Catholic universities in order that our children not be perverted. We no longer dare send a young man or a young lady to a Catholic university.

We prefer to send them to a state university. Seminarians no longer know where to go. In seminaries today, seminarians come and go as they pleased, at any time of the day and night, go to daily Mass or stay away, as they please.

We are thus in a state of decomposition and we cannot accept this situation. This is why our resistance gives the impression that we are attempting to stand in the way of all this change. I have been requested to close my seminary at Econe. Why do I refuse to obey this order? Because I most emphatically do not wish my seminarians to become Protestants, because I do not wish my seminarians to become Modernists, because I do not wish my seminarians to lose their faith and their moral perspective. I am quite certain that were they to be released and sent to other seminaries they would lose their faith and their moral perspective. Accordingly, it appears to me that I have no choice but to resist this order.

I am asked how it is that I can refuse orders, which come from Rome. Indeed, these orders to come from Rome, but from which Rome? I believe in Eternal Rome, the Rome of the Sovereign Pontiffs, the Rome which dispenses the very life of the Church, the Rome which transmits the true Tradition of the Church. I am considered disobedient, but I am moved to ask why have those who issue orders which in themselves are blameworthy been given their authority. The Pope, the cardinals, the bishops, the priests have been given their authority for the purpose of transmitting life, the spiritual life, the supernatural life, eternal life, just as parents and society as a whole have been given their authority to transmit and protect life. The word “authority” means “author,” author of life. We are not authorized to transmit death; society is not permitted to pass laws, which authorize abortion, because abortion is death. In like manner, the Pope, the cardinals, the bishops and priests exist as such to transmit and sustain spiritual life. Unfortunately, it is apparent that many of them today no longer transmit or sustain life, but rather authorize spiritual abortion.

These, then, are the reasons why, in the face of an order to close my seminary, I refuse to obey. I believe that we all have a serious requirement for the type of priests who transmit the life of the soul. I am certain you do not wish to have priests who are apt to administer sacraments, which are invalid. From time to time I am asked to administer Confirmation which, of course, is irritating to local bishops who remind me that I have no right to confirm in their dioceses. Naturally, I recognize this, but I remind them in turn that they have no right to administer sacraments of doubtful validity to children whose parents want them to receive the sacramental grace. These parents have the right to be certain that their children are receiving the grace of Confirmation. This is, after all, a grave responsibility for parents. It is grace, which keeps the soul alive, and, to this end, I much prefer to see parents confident that their children have received the sacramental grace of Confirmation even when, by administering the sacrament in someone else’s diocese, I am acting illicitly. I may at least rest easy in the knowledge that the children confirmed in the manner prescribed by the Church for centuries truly carry the sacramental grace within them, that the sacrament is truly valid.

With respect to sacraments of doubtful validity, today bishops rarely confirm: they delegate their vicars-general or other priests, and many of these change even the new authorized formulas. Because the particular sacramental grace of each sacrament has to be signified explicitly, and as many of these changes of working do not signify the sacrament in question, it follows that the sacrament is invalid. In other words, it is not permissible to toy with the formula of the sacraments, just as in the Sacrifice of the Mass we many not tamper with the wording of the consecration. It is necessary to perform as the Church has always intended.

All of this, therefore, is of utmost importance and it is also the reason why we must maintain our traditions, and fear neither difficulties nor obstructions. We are living in a time of veritable agony. We must be careful, of course, not to offer violent opposition to our bishops and to our priests who refuse to understand the grave dangers under which the Church labors today. But in following the Church of all time, we must also pray for our pastors. We are not inventing anything new. I have not innovated at my seminary at Econe.

Those who condemn me are condemning their own formation, which is absurd. In the face of these absurdities, I can only close my ears and my eyes, and continue to receive seminarians. In September [1975], I welcomed twenty-five new candidates at Econe, five at my new German-language seminary near Lake Constance in German Switzerland, and twelve at my new house at Armada, Michigan. Vocations are surely not wanting and I am quite certain that were we encouraged instead of harassed and struck down, I would have not three seminaries, but seminaries in every part of the world. Make no mistake: there are sufficient good, young, wiling men – good and holy vocations in every country.

We are bound, therefore, to pray that we recover one day an understanding of the way of the priesthood because Christian society cannot live without its priests. The Church without the priesthood is no longer the Church. It is for this reason essentially that I ask your fervent prayers for young priests. Pray also to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for she is the Mother of priests and the Mother of the priesthood. Pray for the graces of holy vocations, and for assistance with respect to Rome, that one-day Rome itself may be enlightened.

Rome, for me, has become a great mystery. What is happening in Rome? It is surely Rome that constitutes the most serious problem. To say such a thing is neither calumny nor detraction, for if the crisis in the Church has spread to every country in the world, it is only sensible to seek a common cause at its Seat. There is something distinctly abnormal and sinister about Rome today, the workings of grace are being obstructed in Rome, there are men in Rome who are under the ascendancy of Satan. How else could the Church be strangled, as it were, and troubled to such an extent? Though we may not readily understand the problem, one can feel it, sense the atmosphere of today’s Rome. I am still frequently in Rome, and I have occasion to chat from time to time to priests of the different sacred congregations, the men who carry out the day-to-day affairs of the Curia. These men confide to me in private that Rome has become stifling, that a veritable terror reigns in the bureaus and the corridors of the Vatican, with always somebody listening, spying, ready to report, to criticize. Even the cardinals are not immune to the terror, to the veritable diabolical influence, which permeates every facet of Vatican life.

What has caused such a deterioration? Who are these sinister people? Are they hidden personalities, or are they clerics in important positions? Nobody seems to know, but what is absolutely certain is that this spirit permeates not only the Seat of the Catholic Church, but every one of us no matter how far we are from Rome.

The present state of Rome is just one more reason why we must not hesitate or fear to regroup.

In closing, I would wish to emphasize especially how important it is to remain united, and to avoid dissension at all costs. We are already so few who wish to hold onto our traditions, who understand, who have received the graces. There can be no question but that it is God’s grace, which has allowed us to keep our holy traditions, the very traditions, which have produced the saints. It is vital, therefore, that we proceed as of one mind, that we labor together in order to better insure a strong defense.

You most assuredly have it within your power, through grace, to build up something solid, which will last, which will attract the others, something which will allow you to form your children. You will find it easier to provide catechists to help you in your tasks. You will find it easier to organize your own schools, administered by laymen and fully Catholic, teaching the true catechism, celebrating the traditional liturgy, forming your children as strong and perfect Christians. It is this sort of arrangement to which we must come in order to protect our holy religion and our souls, for, ultimately, to save our souls is all that matters.


St. Athanasius, Pope St. Pius X, Archbishop Lefebvre and today’s crisis (Pt. 1)

During the time of the Arian heresy, St. Athansius fought for and defended the Church of God, when the vast majority of the Catholic world, including the clergy, succumbed to the heresy of Arianism, the denial of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can find a parallel in today’s crisis, but today is much worse than at the time of the Arian heresy. Today, the Catholic world, including most of the clergy, have succumbed to the heresy of Modernism. Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies that exist.  Nothing can be worse than the dreaded heresy of Modernism.  Pope St. Pius X and Archbishop Lefebvre were two modern day St. Athanasius, for they were both prophets of God and both warned us of this Modernist heresy and the current crisis inflicting the Church.

Just as at the time of the Arian heresy, Arians occupied the churches with their heresies so also today do the Modernists occupy the churches.  The following letter of St. Athanasius to his flock could have been written yesterday:

“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …

“You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.  Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.

This reminds us of Archbishop Lefebvre, who I believe carried on the work of Pope St. Pius X.  I believe it was Providence that convinced the Archbishop to name his Society after Pope St. Pius X. Archbishop Lefebvre encouraged Catholics to remain faithful to the True Faith, no matter what. Repeatedly, he condemned the direction the Church was taking, despite the hatred and persecution that came his way from all sides.  This man will be honored and recognized as a hero when this crisis has done the last of its evil work, for the Archbishop will be recognized as the defender of the Church and the Mass during the greatest crisis in Her history.  Here are a few quotes of his:

“We know now with whom we have to deal. We know perfectly well that we are dealing with a “diabolical hand” which is located at Rome, and which is demanding, by obedience, the destruction of the Church! And this is why we have the right and the duty to refuse this obedience… I believe that I have the right to ask these gentlemen who present themselves in offices which were occupied by Cardinals… “Are you with the Catholic Church?” “Are you the Catholic Church?” “With whom am I dealing?” If I am dealing with someone who has a pact with Masonry, have I the right to speak with such a person? Have I the duty to listen to them and to obey them?” (Archbishop Lefebvre, 1978, Ordination Sermon, “Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre”, Vol. 2, p.209, Michael Davies)

“I shall not give the Church’s destroyers an easy conscience by handing over to them what belongs only to God, to the Faithful, to the Church of all time. (1976)

We believe and accept our faith as the only true faith in the world. All this confusion ends up in compromises, which destroy the Church’s doctrines, for the misfortune of mankind and the church alike.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, interview, 1978)

I have preached and done what the Church has always taught. I have never changed what the Church said in the Council of Trent and at the First Vatican Council. So who has changed? It is the enemy, as Pope St. Pius X said, the enemy who is working within the Church because he wants the Church to be finished with her tradition.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Homily, Venice, April 7, 1980)

We therefore choose to keep it and we cannot be mistaken in clinging to what the Church has taught for two thousand years. The crisis is profound, cleverly organized and directed, and by this token one can truly believe that the master mind is not a man but Satan himself. For it is a master-stroke of Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience […] St. Thomas Aquinas, to whom we must always refer, goes so far in the “Summa Theological” as to ask whether the “fraternal correction” prescribed by Our Lord can be exercised towards our superiors. After having made all the appropriate distinctions he replies: “One can exercise fraternal correction towards superiors when it is a matter of faith.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, “Open Letter to Confused Catholics”, 1986)

You are working to dechristianize society and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them.” (Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger, 1987)

In the Church there is no law or jurisdiction which can impose on a Christian the diminution of his faith. All the faithful can and should resist what interferes with their faith… If they are faced with an order putting their faith in danger of corruption, there is an overriding duty to disobey… It is because we judge that our faith is endangered by the post-conciliar reforms and tendencies, that we have the duty to disobey and keep Tradition. Let us add this, that the greatest service we can render to the Church and to the successor of Peter is to reject the reformed and liberal church… I am not of that religion, I do not accept that new religion. It is a liberal, modernist religion. Christians are divided… priests no longer know what to do; either they obey blindly what their superiors impose on them, and lose to some degree the faith, or they resist, but with the feeling of separating themselves from the Pope. Two religions confront each other; we are in a dramatic situation, it is impossible to avoid a choice.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, 1986, “Open Letter to Confused Catholics”)

We are not of this new religion! We do not accept this new religion! We are of the religion of all time; we are of the Catholic religion. We are not of this “universal religion” as they call it today – this is not the Catholic religion any more. We are not of this liberal, modernist religion which has its own worship, its own priests, its own faith, its own catechisms, its own “ecumenical” Bible. We cannot accept these things. They are contrary to our Faith. It is an immense, immense pain for us, to think that we are in difficulty with Rome because of our faith! We are in a truly dramatic situation. We have to choose an appearance of disobedience – for the Holy Father cannot ask us to abandon our faith; it is impossible, impossible! We choose not to abandon our faith, for in that we cannot go wrong.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Ordination Sermon, June 29, 1976)

 

On the Modernists, he states:

“So we are to be excommunicated by Modernists, by people who have been condemned by previous popes.  So what can that really do?  We are condemned by men who are themselves condemned…” ( Archbishop Lefebvre, Press conference, Ecône, June 15 1988)

The Archbishop cried out from he depths of his heart and soul because he cared about the souls of the Church and the world.  His one goal was the salvation of souls and for this reason and this reason alone, he adhered to the True Faith and the True Mass.

What is Modernism exactly?  It is nothing more than Protestantism and Naturalism in the Church. The Modernists seek to reinterpret the teachings of the Catholic Church in light of 19th century historical and philosophical ideas, especially those on the freedom of conscience.  The Modernists seek to reinterpret Catholic teachings according to personal religious experience and the current spirit of the age.  This heresy characterizes a break with the Catholic past.  After all, who was it that robbed Catholics of their Sacred Faith, encompassed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the disciplines, traditions, all that made the Church and Christendom so great? It was the Modernists.  The Modernists believed that they could fashion the Church into their image, hence the term “Church of Man” that we hear so often.  The Church of Man is not the Church of God. We could say that the “Church of Man” is a church within the Church, for they both work for opposing aims. The True Church of God cares about only one thing – the salvation of souls.  The “Church of Man” works to make the earth a paradise and it is all fashioned on naturalist ideas, on heresies (as demonstrated in the “Descent of the Modernists” chart.  We can see that Modernism leads to Atheism).  We were not made for this world. Modernism seeks to make man comfortable here, to make man “feel good” about themselves. The Modernists seek to change Catholic doctrine so it will please modern man.  We saw this clearly at the recent Synod.  The overall teaching of Modernism is that dogma can evolve over time, which means that the Church can change and “get with the times.”  The Church is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Truth doesn’t change.  Our Lord is the Truth and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The same can be said of His Church for He and His Church are one.

A Modernist believes that the expression of dogma/doctrine can change.  For example, with the recent Synod we heard much talk of allowing people in mortal sin to commit sacrilege, but at the same time, we heard that the doctrine would not change.  If we alter the expression, we alter the substance.  This is the goal of the Modernists.  They just do it subtly and slyly.

Pope St. Pius X said: “Attempting to reconcile our Faith with the modern mentality leads not only to weakening of that Faith, but to its total destruction.”

Pope St. Pius X outed the Modernists. This was a hallmark of his pontificate.  He foresaw the incalculable damage the Modernists would do if given free rein and he did all in his power to condemn them.  It is as clear as day that Our Lord allowed them to do that very incalculable damage to his Church, for the Modernists reconciled the Faith with the modern mentality, claiming that this was the best for the Church. I say, by their fruits you will know them! The fruits of their work are bitter, bitter for the world and for the Church.  Whole nations have apostasied from the True Faith and offered their incense to their own gods, instead of worshiping Our Lord Jesus Christ and remaining faithful to the Catholic Faith of 2,000 years.

Pope St. Pius X, another St. Athansius of our time, cried out that the wolf was entering the sheepfold ready to devour all in its path.

Returning to the apostasy, on that subject Pope Pius X had this to say:

“Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is—apostasy from God… When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the ‘Son of Perdition’ [Antichrist] of whom the Apostle speaks.

If he questioned whether the Antichrist was in the world in his day, what would he say today, seeing the fruits of the Modernism he tried so hard to banish from the Church?

“They want them [the Modernists] to be treated with oil, soap, and caresses. But they should be beaten with fists. In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can. War is not made with charity: it is a struggle, a duel. If Our Lord were not terrible, He would not have given an example in this too. See how he treated the Philistines, the sowers of error, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the traders: He scourged them with whips!”

One can see the similarities between these three great men of the Church, for they all fought during their times against the heresies of their times, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Indeed, the world woke up to find itself Arian.  Today, the Church woke up to find itself Modernist.

The wolf must no longer be allowed to lead souls to perdition.

Pray for the conversion of the Modernists to the True Faith, while they still have time to repent, for when they face the Just Judge they will not be “treated with oil, soap and caresses” because the Just Judge will ask then – “What have you done to My Church, my priests and bishops?”

Part II of this post here: https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/st-athanasius-pope-st-pius-x-archbishop-lefebvre-and-todays-crisis-pt-2/

~Damsel of the Faith

      

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in his own words

Hear the words of a great saint, Archbishop Lefebvre, on his life and his work.  Thank this great man for what he has done for Our Lord and His Church.  A great missionary, guardian of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Defender of the rights of God and His Church, a man who worked tirelessly, despite hatred and persecution, that Our Lord may reign and that His Church might be glorified. Archbishop Lefebvre, ora pro nobis!

Taken from “Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre” by Michael Davies:

The address given by His Grace, the Most Reverend Marcel Lefebvre, Titular Archbishop of Synnada in Phrygia and Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, on the occasion of the community celebration of his seventieth birthday, 29 November 1975, at the International Seminary of Saint Pius X, Ecône, Switzerland:

“During the course of my life, I have had many consolations, in every position given to me, from young curate at Marais-de-Lomme in the Diocese of Lille, to the Apostolic Delegation of Dakar. I used to say when I was Apostolic Delegate that, from then on, I could only go downwards, I could go no higher; it was not possible. Obviously, they could still have given me a cardinal’s hat! Probably God wanted me to do something else…to prepare His ways.

And if in the course of my missionary life I had real consolations, God always spoiled me…always. He spoiled me in my parents, first of all, I must say, who suffered greatly from the war of 1914-18. My mother died from it, in fact. And my father, having helped Englishmen, especially, to escape from the zone occupied by the Germans, had his name put on the German lists, and when the last war came, his name having been carefully recorded, he was arrested and died in a German jail. Both my parents were models for me and certainly I owe much to their virtue. If five out of eight children in the family are religious priests or sisters, it is not without reason.

So I was spoiled in my parents; spoiled also in my studies at the French Seminary, in having as Superior and Director of the French Seminary the venerated Père Le Floch, who was a man of great kindness and of great doctrinal firmness, to whom I owe much for my formation as a seminarian and as a priest. They reproached me for having spoken of Père Le Floch at my consecration. It seemed to me that I could not do otherwise than to thank those who had formed me and who were, in fact, indirectly the cause of my nomination and my selection as a bishop.

But I was openly reproached with that simply because Père Le Floch was a traditionalist. I was not supposed to speak of this man, who had even been discussed by the French Parliament, because he wanted to form his seminarians in complete conformity to Tradition and to truth. He too was accused of being an ‘integrist.’ He was accused of involving himself in politics. He was accused of being with Action française, whereas never, in any of his spiritual conferences, had Père Le Floch spoken to us of Action française. He spoke to us only of the encyclicals of the Popes; he put us on our guard against Modernism; he explained to us all the encyclicals and especially those of Saint Pius X; and thus he formed us very firmly in doctrine. It is a curious thing – those who were on the same benches as myself, many of whom later became bishops of France, did not follow the doctrine that Père Le Floch had taught them, although it was the doctrine of the Church.

So I was spoiled during my seminary training, then spoiled even as curate at Marais-de-Lomme, where I spent only one year, but where I had such joy in taking care of a working-class parish, and where I found so much friendliness. Then I spent fifteen years in the missions in the bush, as well as at the mission seminary for six years, then again in the bush in Gabon. I became so attached to Africa that I had indeed resolved never to return to Europe. I liked it so well there and was so happy – a missionary in the midst of the Gabonese jungle – that the day I learned that they were recalling me to France to be Superior of the seminary of philosophy at Mortain, I wept, and I would indeed have disobeyed, but that time my faith was not in danger!1

I was obliged to obey and to return, and it was at Mortain, after two years as Superior of the seminary of philosophy, that I was called to be Vicar Apostolic of Dakar. I spent very happy years at Mortain. I have the best memories of the seminarians of that time and I think that they too, many of whom are still living, those who are now priests and missionaries, also have happy memories of that period. When I learned that I was named to Dakar, it was a heavy blow for me, for I knew nothing of Senegal, I knew none of the Fathers there, and I did not know the language of the country, while in Gabon, I knew the language of the country, I knew all the Fathers, and I would certainly have felt much more at home. Perhaps I would even have been capable of a better apostolate toward the missionaries and the Africans of Senegal.

I did not know that a year later yet another nomination awaited me, which was that of Apostolic Delegate. That increased the crosses a little, but at the same time the consolations, because I must say that, during the eleven years from 1948 to 1959 that I was Apostolic Delegate, God filled me with joy in visiting all those dioceses with which I had been charged by the Holy Father. I had to visit them, send reports to Rome, and prepare the nomination of bishops and Apostolic Delegates.

The dioceses confided to me at that time numbered thirty-six, and during the years that I was Apostolic Delegate they increased to sixty-four. What I mean is that it was necessary to divide the dioceses, to name bishops, to name Apostolic Delegates, and then to visit the dioceses, to settle the difficulties that might exist in those territories, and at the same time to get to know the Church. This missionary Church was represented by her bishops, who accompanied me on all the journeys that I made in their dioceses. I was received by the Fathers, and by those who were in contact with the apostolate, with the natives, with the different peoples, and with the different mentalities, from Madagascar to Morocco, because Morocco was also dependent upon the Delegation of Dakar; I travelled from Djibouti to Pointe Noire in Equatorial Africa.

All these dioceses that I had the occasion to visit made me conscious of the vitality of the Church in Africa, for this period between 1948 and 1960 was a period of extraordinary growth. Numerous were the congregations of Fathers and the congregations of Sisters that came to help us. That is why I also visited Canada at that time, and many of the countries of Europe, to attempt to draw men and women religious to the countries of Africa to aid the missionaries, and to make the missions known.

And each year I had the joy of going to Rome and approaching Pope Pius XII. For eleven years I was able to visit Pope Pius XII, whom I venerated as a saint and as a genius – a genius, humanly speaking. He always received me with extraordinary kindness, taking an interest in all the problems of Africa. That is also how I got to know very closely Pope Paul VI, who was at that time the Substitute2 of Pope Pius XII and whom I saw each time that I went to Rome before going to see the Holy Father.

So I had many consolations, and was very intimately involved, I would say, in the interests of the Church – at Rome, then in all of Africa, and even in France, because by that very fact, I had to have relations with the French government, and thus with its ministers. I was received several times at the Elysée, and several times I was obliged to defend the interests of Africa before the French government. I should also say that at that time the Apostolic Delegate, of whom I was the first in the French colonies, was always considered as a Nuncio, and thus I was always given the privileges that are given to diplomats and to ambassadors. I was always received with great courtesy, and they always facilitated my journeys in Africa.

Oh, I could well have done without the detachments of soldiers who saluted me as I descended from the airplane! But if it could facilitate the reign of God, I accepted it willingly. But the African crowds who awaited the Delegate of the Holy Father, the envoy of the Holy Father – in many regions it was the first time that they had received a delegate of the Holy Father – now that was an extraordinary joy. And the fact that the government itself manifested its respect for the representative of the Pope increased still more, I would say, the honor  given to the Pope himself and to the Church. All that was, as you can imagine, a great source of joy for me, to see the Church truly honored and developing in an admirable manner.

At that time the seminaries were filling and religious congregations of African Sisters were being founded. I regret that the Senegalese Sister is not here today. She is at St-Luc, but she was unable to come. I know that she would certainly have been happy to take part in this celebration. Yes, the number of Sisters multiplied throughout Africa. All this is to show you once more how God spoiled me during my missionary life.

And then there was the Council, the work of the Council. Certainly it is there, I should say, that the suffering begins somewhat. To see this Church which was so full of promise, flourishing throughout the entire world…I should also add that, from 1962 on, I passed several months in the Diocese of Tulle, which were not useless for me because I was able to become familiar with a diocese of France and to see how the bishops of France reacted and in what environment they were.

I must say that often I was somewhat hurt to see the narrowness of mind, the pettiness of their problems, the tiny difficulties which they considered enormous problems, after returning from the missions where our problems were on a much greater scale, and where the relations between the bishops were much more cordial. In the least matters, you could sense how touchy they were; that was something which caused me pain.

And I was also surprised at the manner in which I was received into the French episcopate. For it was not I who had asked to be a bishop in France. It was Pope John XXIII at that time who obliged me to leave. I begged him to leave me free, to leave me in peace and to let me rest for a while after all those years in Africa. But he would hear nothing of it and he told me, ‘An Apostolic Delegate who returns to his country should have a diocese in his country. That is the general rule. So you should have a diocese in France, so I accepted since he imposed it upon me, and you know what restrictions were placed upon me by the bishops of France and particularly the assembly of Archbishops and Cardinals, who asked that I be excluded from the assembly of Archbishops and Cardinals, although I was an archbishop, that I should not have a big diocese, that I should be placed in a small diocese, and that this would not be considered a precedent. This is one of the things that I found very painful, for why should a confrère be received in such a way, with so many restrictions?

No doubt the reason was because I was already considered a traditionalist, even before the Council. You see, that did not begin at the Council! So in 1962 I spent some time in Tulle. I was received with great reserve; with cordiality, but they were also afraid of me. The Communist newspapers already spoke of me obviously in somewhat less than laudatory terms. And even the Catholic papers were very reserved: what is this traditionalist bishop coming to do in France? What is he going to do at Tulle? But after six months, I believe that I can say that the priests whom I had the occasion to see, to meet…I had the occasion to give Confirmation in almost all the parishes, and our relations were truly excellent. I admired the clergy of France, who were often living in poverty, but who constituted a fervent, a devoted, a zealous clergy, really very edifying.

Then I was named Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, and there again, I had occasion to travel, this time not only to Africa, but South America, North America, and everywhere where there were Holy Ghost Fathers…the Antilles, all the English territories of Africa and all the English-speaking territories; the Belgian Congo; South Africa; and so on – all of which obviously permitted me to become more familiar with all these missions, and I really believed that God was everywhere pouring forth extraordinary graces on His Church. At that time the effects of the Council, and all this degradation, had not yet begun. So it was a very happy period, very consoling.

Then came the Council and the results of the Council, and, I must say, it was an immense pain for me to see the decline of the Church, so rapid, so profound, so universal, that it was truly inconceivable. Even though we could foresee it, and those who worked with me in the famous Coetus Internationalis Patrum (the International Group of Fathers) did foresee it, the assembly of two hundred and fifty Fathers who strove to limit the damage that could be foreseen during the Council, none of us, I think, could have foreseen the rapidity with which the disintegration of the Church would take place.

It was inconceivable, and it obliged us to admit in a few years how much the Church was affected by all the false principles of Liberalism and of Modernism, which opened the door to practically every error, to all the enemies of the Church, considering them as brothers, as people with whom we had to dialogue, as a people as friendly as ourselves, and thus to be placed on the same footing as we, in a theoretical manner, and even in practice. Not that we do not respect their persons; but as for their errors, we cannot accept them. But you have all been familiar with this portion of history for some time now.

Indeed, I suffered terribly. Imagine if I had remained with the Holy Ghost Fathers where, in theory, I should have stayed until 1974. I could have stayed until 1974 as Superior General. I had been named for twelve years in 1962. But I submitted my resignation in 1968 and, in fact, I was glad to do so, because I did not want to collaborate in the destruction of my congregation. And had I remained Bishop of Tulle, I cannot very well imagine myself at present in a diocese of France! In an environment like that, I should probably have had a nervous breakdown!

It seemed that God intended my apostolic life to end in 1968, and I foresaw nothing else than simply to go into retirement at Rome; indeed, I rented a small apartment at Rome from some Sisters in Via Monserrato, and I was very happy there. But I think that God decided that my work was not yet finished. I had to continue. Well, I could never have imagined – because there I was in a small apartment, which M. Pedroni and M. Borgeat know well – I could never have imagined at that time that God was reserving for me such profound joys and such immense consolations.

For could there be, in my last years, a consolation greater than to find myself surrounded by such faithful collaborators, faithful especially to the Church and to the ideal which we must always pursue; than to find myself surrounded by such devoted, such friendly, and such generous lay people, giving their time and their money and doing all that they can to help us? And besides them, I should recall, we must think of the tens of thousands of benefactors who are with us and who write to us – we receive their letters all the time. Now that is obviously for us and for myself an immense consolation. It is truly a family that has been created around Ecône.

And then, to have such good seminarians! I did not expect that either. I could never imagine or really believe that, in the age in which we live, in the environment in which we live, with all this degradation that the Church is undergoing, with all this disorganization, this confusion everywhere in thought, that God would still grant the grace to young men of having this desire, a profound desire, a real desire, to find an authentic priestly formation; to search for it, to leave their countries to come so far, even from Australia, even from the United States, to find such a formation; to accept a journey of twenty thousand kilometers to find a true Seminary. It is something I could never imagine. How could you expect me to imagine such a thing? I like the idea of an international Seminary and I am very happy with it, but I could never imagine that the Seminary would be what it is and that I would find young men with such good dispositions.

I believe that I can say, without flattering you and without flattering myself, that the seminary
strangely resembles the French Seminary that I knew, and I believe that I can even say that it is of a quality even more pleasing to God…more spiritual, especially, and it is that which makes me very happy, because it is the character that I very much desire to give to the Seminary. It is not only an intellectual character, a speculative character – that you should be true scholars…may you be so, certainly, it is necessary – but especially that you should be saints, men filled with the grace of God, filled with the spiritual life. I believe that it is even more essential than your studies, although the studies are indispensable.

For this, then, and for all the good that you are going to do, how can you expect me not to thank God? I ask myself why God has thus heaped His graces upon me. What have I done to deserve all these graces and blessings? No doubt God wished to give me all these graces and blessings so that I could bear my cross more easily.

Because the cross is heavy, after all…heavy in the sense to which I made allusion this morning. For it is hard, after all, to hear oneself called, and to be obliged in a way to accept that people call you, disobedient. And because we cannot submit and abandon our faith. It is a very painful thing, when you love the Church, when you love obedience, when for your entire life you have loved to follow Her leaders and Her guides. It is painful to think that our relations are so difficult with those who ought to be leading us. And all that is certainly a heavy cross to bear. I think that God gives His blessings and graces in compensation, and to strengthen us in our work.

For all this, then, I thank God, first of all, and I thank all of you, and may God do as He pleases. If He wishes me to be at your service yet for some time, let it be so. Deo gratias! If on the other hand He wishes to give me a small reward somewhat sooner, more quickly, well, let it be Deo gratias also. As He wishes. I have worked only in His service and I desire to work to the end of my days in His service and in yours also. So thank you again and let us ask God to grant that this seminary may continue for His glory and for the good of souls.”

1. Every Catholic, including priests and members of religious orders, must refuse to obey even the order of a lawful superior if complying with that order could endanger his faith.

2. The assistant to the Vatican Secretary of State is known as the “Substitute”.

One day, the Church will thank you, dear Bishop.